x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Souvenirs a cut above the rest

Qatari swords on display at Adihex.

ABU DHABI // Guests at Adihex took home a slice of history yesterday, in the form of traditional Qatari swords.

A range of blades were on show at the stand of the Qatari sword manufacturer, Ghaith Essence of Swords.

They were intended for decoration only, not cutting or fighting, thanks to blunted blades that bend when pressure is applied.

Khalifa Ghaith Al Kuwari, the general manager, said the Qatari swords were traditionally used during ceremonies.

"In Qatar our tradition is to use them at weddings - some use pure silver swords when they're dancing, or they give them as presents."

However, the sword has not always been so harmless.

"These types of hunting tools go back hundreds of years back, and were a necessity for people who lived in this region."

The swords are popular among GCC residents - many of whom buy them when they visit Qatar. However, they are not that popular with Emiratis yet, he said.

"In Qatar, some people will buy a sword for Dh55,000. But Emiratis already have their own sticks for dancing. Maybe in five years or so it may become more popular."

Additionally, Emirati swords are straight, whereas Qatari ones are crescent-shaped.

The shop also stocked khanjars, traditional Omani and Emirati daggers manufactured partly by hand and partly by machine in Qatar.

* Hareth Al Bustani