UAE’s traditional dagger symbolises power, function and decorative prowess

  • article

Al Ain, Apr. 24 (BNA): The UAE’s traditional dagger, embossed with Arabian tradition and culture, is not just a piece of silversmith and craftsmanship. It also reflects the aesthetics of the Emirati man and symbolises pride and power. With its intricate decorative prowess, it also embodies an inspiring culture.


"Khanjar" is the common word that is used to refer to the traditional dagger. The curved, "J" letter-shaped dagger is believed to have its origins in Oman, WAM, the UAE news agency, reported.


For the UAE, the history of the khanjar is both deep-rooted and rich with vivid history. It was once used for personal protection and as a tool for hunting. It was also considered a potent symbol for manhood and strength.


The oldest photograph of the dagger in the UAE dates to 1904, in which the iconic tool is worn by Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, ‘Zayed the Great’. A video in 1937 shows Shaikh Saeed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum adorning the khanjar.


Abdulla Al Matroushi, founder of ‘Bayt Al Khanjar’, said Emiratis are particularly proud of their heritage of the dagger embossed with distinctive craftsmanship.

The dagger’s blade is made from high-quality iron that is attached to a hilt, typically made from ivory, he explained.


However, these days, the making of traditional daggers complies with international conservation standards, where the use of ivory has been replaced with buffalo horn exported from India, he said.


"The khanjar has a distinctive curved sheath that is attached to a woven textile belt. The sheath is made of soft leather and is elaborately decorated in silver and gold.”


The khanjar forms an integral component of "traditional dress"


On display at Al Ain’s Qasr Al Muwaiji, the historically and culturally significant landmark, are intricate traditional daggers, made of gold and silver, some which date to the 1960s.


The khanjar is one of the oldest weapons known in the Arabian Peninsula and the Levant.


BNA 1517 GMT 2019/04/24