x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Six-metre long sword wows crowds

Weapon weighs 180kg and is encrusted with gems

Artist Emad Ghalghay crafted what could be the world's longest sword, on public display for the first time at Adihex this week. He also showcased a three-metre long dagger.
Artist Emad Ghalghay crafted what could be the world's longest sword, on public display for the first time at Adihex this week. He also showcased a three-metre long dagger.

ABU DHABI // What could be the world's longest sword - and largest dagger - went on public display for the first time in the capital yesterday.

The handmade weapons, both crafted by the same Arab artist, attracted stunned crowds at the annual Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition

Emad Ghalghay, a Syrian of Chechen origin, made both in the UAE but had never shown them in public, saying they were crafted for his own satisfaction.

The six-metre long, gem-encrusted sword is now to be registered with Guinness World Records.

Ghalghay was once asked what inspired him to make the world's biggest sword. He replied: "I felt sad because somebody made the biggest sandwich, somebody made the biggest pizza - I made this for him to cut it."

The weapons were put on display with the aid of Middle East Optical.

"We have a different line of business but I told him we'd bring his items to show to people, and to sell too," said the company's Ayman Al Khoudari. "If people like them, they usually buy them."

Pointing to large and elaborate decorative shields, Mr Khoudari said: "These are a little expensive because they are handmade. The sword price would probably be around Dh120,000.

"Someone also offered Dh40,000 for the dagger but Mr Emad didn't sell it. I told him he should, and start on a new one, but he didn't want to."

The 80-kilogram Caucasian-style dagger is three metres long, 23 centimetres wide and adorned with traditional engravings and thousands of gems. It is made of natural leather, wood and stainless steel, and opens and closes automatically using motors.

The sword, a hybrid of traditional and modern Arabic styles, weighs 180kg and is made of the same materials, plus iron, and is adorned with thousands of gems and crystals.

Ghalghay's reputation precedes him, and people often take him photographs or designs for daggers, knives, calligraphy and other pieces, which he then creates.

"He is an artist - for a long time people have asked him to make all kinds of swords, and he wanted to make the biggest one in the world," Mr Al Khoudari said.

The sword took Ghalghay about 11 months to complete, the dagger a year.

"But not continuously working," the artist said. "If I had worked on them continuously it would have taken about two months."

Adihex visitors queued up yesterday to take photographs with the weapons, which are on display along with other works of art.

"When I finished making each of them, I was so happy," Ghalghay said. "And I immediately wanted to make more art and masterpieces."

He began his craft about 20 years ago, starting with Arabic calligraphy and Islamic ornamentation.

From there, he started painting and engraving a variety of materials such as stone, wood and metal.

Ghalghay eventually started working on crafting swords, daggers, spears, shields and fortresses of different sizes.

"My next project will be an Emirati khanjar dagger - and it's going to be bigger," he said.

The swords were only two of many unique weapons on show at Adihex, including a hunting knife which incorporated the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in its design, found at the Tamreen stand. Fanzoj showcased an Ivory Hunters gun, which featured 24k gold.

Elsewhere at Adihex, crowds were keen to see birds of prey such as owls and falcons, while the camel auction proved as popular as ever.

Anyone who wants a customised sword, dagger or other work of art can call Ghalghay on 050 646 8062 or visit www.emad-ghalghay.com.

halbustani@thenational.ae

*For videos showcasing the artists at Adihex and the history of the camel auction, visit thenational.ae/multimedia