Mittwoch, 14. November 2012

What Yemeni men wear behind their daggers II


A dagger accessory less often encountered in Sanaa than in rural highland Yemen is the sikkīn [knife], a short knife used for mundane cutting tasks. It is usually stuck into a leather pocket or strap behind dagger. The blade of the sikkīn has a single cutting edge and generally bends to the left in the lower half like the blade of the janbiya does. Knives with straight blades are not considered to be originally Yemeni. Because the hilt of the sikkīn can sometimes be covered with a silver decorative casing referred to as either raʾs sikkīn [head of knife] or ilya (a term referring to jewelry or decorative elements on daggers, dagger scabbards, or dagger belts), the sikkīn is sometimes also simply referred to as ilya. As such knives no longer sell as well as they used to, the creative craftsmen of the Sūq al-Fiḍḍa, the silver market in the Old City of Sanaa, have created leather scabbards to fit these and now sell them to tourists.


© Marie-Christine Heinze

right ḥilya: Jewish silver work; left ḥilya:
Muslim silver work from Zaydiyya, Tihāma
© Marie-Christine Heinze


sikkīn with scabbard for tourists
© Marie-Christine Heinze



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