Khanjar – The Curved Arab Dagger


These knives are called khanjar, the well-known curved Arab dagger. I have seen khanjar in private homes here as collector’s items. Many have jewel encrusted handles and are quite exquisite. The following is an excerpt from an old issue of Saudi Aramco World magazine…
“The Arab world has always been famous for its weapons—as Frankish knights, galloping ponderously toward the Holy Land, learned to their dismay. With their great, two-handed broadswords, the knights were confident that they could easily crush the thin-bladed, elegant, curved scimitars of the Arabs. What they didn’t know was that the shape of the blade was not decoration; in curving the blade Arab swordsmiths did decrease the contact area of the blade, but also increased the depth of the blade’s cut. Furthermore, by adding a half round ridge to the center of the blade, they gave the blade great strength without adding much weight. The result was a weapon that was very light, very strong and cut deeply—deeply enough, at least, to inflict galling defeats on the overconfident knights.” Written by Kenneth R. Blevins, for the January/February 1967 print edition of Saudi Aramco World.

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Culture, History, Middle East, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Khanjar – The Curved Arab Dagger

  1. John says:

    I have one of these with 5 x’s cut into the blade just below the handle – any idea what the crosses are?

  2. Karin Blevins Hunter says:

    Thank you for crediting my late father for his 1967 piece in the Aramco World! I still have an original copy of the magazine with the article and I had the slides he took converted to digital.

    • Hi Karin – So nice to hear from you. I’m always hapopy to credit the original author when I know who it is. Aramco has published some fantastic articles over the years and is a great source of information. It’s not easy to find specific information on the Middle East all the time! Best Wishes to you and your dad.

  3. leif hagen says:

    Those are marvelous works of art – amazing handicraft! I guess they are very expensive to have one of one’s own!

  4. Dina says:

    Thanks for the details. I always wondered about the curve.
    In our Museum of Islamic Art there is a whole room devoted to old weapons like these.

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