A collection of antique Omani khanjar belts

Omani khanjar belt
  • Description

The Khanjar belt is referred to as hizam or hizaq.

The first 8 antique belts are woven from silk, cotton or silver threads, they contain geometric patters (raqma) that are also found in traditional Omani rugs, camel bags and camel trappings.  The Raqma is sometimes not woven but embroidered with wool.

The bottom 4 belts are made of leather encrusted with strips made of silver and sometimes include a decoration made of strips of gold. These belts are less old than the first 8 woven belts.

The khanjars are fixed to the belt with leather strips which are looped through the outer rings and fasted with decorative button headed pins (one with the emblem of Oman incorporating a khanjar and swords) . The leather strips are also decorated with the same threats the belt is woven from (see belt 5)

The scabbard of khanjars with seven silver rings is connected with a chain and pin to the belt. The entry point of the pin  into the belt should be  covered with a little shield.  

Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani khanjar belt

Antique Omani silver khanjar belt

Antique Omani silver khanjar belt

Antique Omani silver khanjar belt

antique Omani belt

Different silver utensils e.g. tweezers, kohlpots, bullet pouches and gunpowder primers (all in the shape of weapons) were hung from the belt.

We do not know the origin of the gold-threat used.  During the late 19th century gold and silver threat from Aleppo was sold in the Jeddah and Mecca souqs (Ref 2 page 129) but we do not know if this was  also the case in Oman. From Ref 1 page 29 we know that 40 years ago metallic yarns of gold and silver were imported to Oman from Japan. However it is still possible that the metallic yarns used in antique belts and khanjars were still made in Oman.

References:
  1. Traditional Spinning and Weaving in the Sultanate of Oman by Gigi Crocker Jones published by the Historical society of Oman 1989
  2. Western Arabia in the Leiden collections traces of a colourful past by Luitgard Mols and Arnoud Vrolijk, Leiden Publications 2016