Originally Posted by Luc LEFEBVRE
Can somebody explain me the difference between the "sbula" and the "genoui" or "djenoui". Both knives from Morroco ?
That is a very valid and well placed question Luc, much as I asked with my post concerning the term 'khodmi'. In trying to look more into this I was able to look back at the threads over nearly two decades + here where the dynamic and vivid 'discussions' became affectionately termed 'the name game' (banana fana
) usually became entertaining if nothing else.
Ariel well pointed out in one that it seemed most references and studies on ethnographic forms were seldom ever carried out by authors native to the countries where these weapons originated. The only exception I think of to that offhand were those on the 'kastane' of Sri Lanka, where Anan was working on a study, and he is of course Sri Lankan.
As much as I have understood (including the recipe by Mr. paella, perfect analogy Kubur!!!) , as he mentioned, the terms seem often interpolated by collectors. However it does seem both are straight Moroccan daggers and the genouii/janwi is single edged while the s'bula is double edged.
I don't think this is a hard and fast rule though, as the s'boula is often fashioned from bayonet blades, which are of course single edged.
My understanding from some time ago has been that the term 'genouii' evolved from the fact that these daggers were most often fashioned from cut down European sword blades. As many, perhaps even most blades, at times were from Italy, specifically Genoa..the name became colloquially, genouii or janwi.
This is of course an often seen practice with sword blades, as with dirks, made from cut down sword blades. To me it is interesting that many of the s'boula I have seen are quite longer, and seem more dirk like, reaching the 'in between' nature of short sword/long knife. This was the case with the curious 'Zanzibar sword' dilemma of about 15 years ago where these pictured in Burton were finally determined to actually be s'boula (per Buttin, 1933).
I have not really ever followed the etymology of s'boula, though I thnk it may be explained in the paper by Mr. Buttin (1939) on Moroccan edged weapons.
While he was not of course 'native' he lived there pretty much of his life.
Well asked question, and I had forgotten this case until it was brought up and explained by Kubur recently.