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Jambia: Yemen’s centuries-old dagger, a social symbol among men

Sanaa, Jan 8 (EFE-EPA).- Once used frequently in combat, jambia daggers are a social staple among men and boys in Yemen who wear them slung around their wastes in a nod to the nation’s tribal past.

Jambia, a curved double-edged dagger that tapers towards the tip, is derived from the Arabic word for “side” because the dagger is usually worn on a belt on a man’s hip.

The ancient accessory dates back over 2000 years and is worn proudly by the majority of Yemeni men, including adults and children.

The dagger is deeply rooted in tradition and is commonly used in festive events, such as dances, and teenage boys are given a jambia as a coming-of-age gift.

Now a status symbol, just 60 years ago the daggers were frequently used for combat or defense, and occasionally still are used in this way as a last resort in extreme cases of conflict.

The traditional Yemeni jambia has a curved steel blade with a handle, a wooden sheath in which the blade is held and a leather belt.

The handle is the most important part of a jambia. It is carved out of bull horns and other animal bones.

The most premium jambia are made with rhino horns and can fetch thousands of US dollars. EPA-EFE


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