Thursday, June 14, 2007

Camel Whip with Dagger

Although evidently neither particularly rare nor valuable, the first time I saw one of these camel whips, I was entranced, as they combined two aesthetic tools or weapons: a braided leather whip and a hidden stiletto. The inlay work on the handle is executed in traditional Syrian style. The whip is a short crop made of braided leather. The handle must be twisted in order to unlock the hidden stiletto. The blade itself is fashioned from steel, probably taken from a piece of machinery. It is a thin, twisted piece of steel with a very sharp tip, a very wicked implement designed solely for emergency use in self defence! (Unfortunately, unless one lives in a place where camels are available as a means of transport, carrying a camel whip would be bound to earn one suspicious glances from the local police! As a weapon of self-defence, therefore, its usefulness definitely is limited in most cultures at this point.) It remains one of my favourite concepts, nonetheless: whip and blade in a single device.

I believe this piece dates from the early to mid-20th century.

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