HvWO 119

Antique Omani bandoleer / bandoleer belt with gunpowder cartridges / tubes

Slide-show: Antique Omani bandolier belt

Very rare antique Omani bandoleer belt with powder cartridges / tubes. Each tube contains enough powder for one shot with a musket. The tubes are closed by the leather strapped around it. Very thick leather, maybe rhino or hypo. Each tube is decorated with typical Omani geometric designs. The designs are burned into the tubes.  A fire-striker has been attached to the bandoleer and a powder measure inserted.

Von Oppenheim (Ref 2)  in 1900 writes about the bandoleers: also refers to the fine bandoleers in Oman: " Die pulver halter aber desto schoner. Es sind dies breite Gurtel , an denen eine Reihe Silberner, messinger oder holzerner Rohrchen zur aufname des je einen schuss erforderlichen pulvers und papierfropfens besfestigt sind, Die kugeln werden gesondert aufbewahrt. Nebenbei pflegt man noch ein kleines Horn mit Pulver fur dass schloss zu fuhren, wendet auch statt des Steinschlosses  haufig noch lunten zum zunden an"  So the Tubes can be of wood, brass or silver. The two pockets in the belt contain bullets and paper-wads. 

Stone (ref 1) in his 1934 book contains on page 326/327 "an Omani/  Zanzibari bandoleer, the belt has some similarities. However our bandoleer the wooden tubes are closed by the leather flap with a leather lace. The Zanzibar (Omani)  bandoleer has tubes with silver caps and no leather flap. The 18th century Turkish bandoleer shown by Stone p 93 fig 119 does have a flap with lace, however the tubes have silver caps and the decoration on that example  is typically Turkish"

Antiuque Omani Bandoleer

The leather 'flap" above is used to close the tubes with a leather lace that is missing.


The ivory cartridge on the right belongs to the other bandoleer, but note similarities in design with  the second wooden cartridge seen from the left.
 Antique Omani bandoleer
Above is part of a drawing with the title "Muscat Arab's" from around 1800. It is the only illustration of an Omani wearing a (brown) bandoleer, in his belt. Drawing is part of collection British Museum

Name: "Antique Omani bandoleer belt"

Period: 1750-1850

Origin: Oman Zanzibar Purchased in Nizwa.

  1. Stone A glossary of the Construction Decoration and Use of arms and armor in all countries and in all times 1934 p. 92 fig 118.1
  2. Max von Oppenheim in his book vom Mittelmeer zum Perzischen Golf band II page 326-327
  3. Richardson & Dorr The craft and Heritage of Oman vol 2 page 456 item 121 (Shows a bandoleer with brass cartridges, the leather belt probably a later one made for Martini Henry rifles but not sure (picture unclear)