Bedouin Shabria


Code:  AN2

This is a shabria dagger (alternatively, “shabariyya”, “kangar”) from the nomadic Bedouin tribes residing in the area of present-day Jordon and Israel.  All adult Bedouin males carry such a knife, which may differ greatly in quality and ornamentation.

The shape, style and customs associated with the shabria tell us that it is related to the janbiya carried by men throughout the Middle East.  

This shabria knife is 11” overall, with a 6 1/2” blade (by 1 7/16” wide) and a 4 1/2” grip and pommel.  The grip and scabbard are brass, decorated in a typical fashion of these knives on the front (shown in the picture above). 

The back is appears to be tin with some brass fixtures (belt loop, wire wrapping for strength) showing many soldered repairs.  The appearance of the back of the grip and scabbard is not so important to the wearers of the shabria (and similar knives of the region) since only one side was exposed when worn.

The dagger was most likely made sometime early in the 20th century and used as a very common sidearm and/or dress accessory. The steel blade shows some but not much wear and the blade is not very sharp, lending support to the theory that this knife was not used in everyday work nor as a weapon.  The blade tip, however, is extremely sharp and there is no doubt that this shabria could be called upon for self defense if needed.

Read more about Janbiya / jambiya in my collection.