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Man choosing a jambia - Sanaa - Yemen

Sanaa , Yemen, in the jambia market. A serious thing for a yemeni man.

Jambiya, or jambia, is the Arabic term for dagger, but it is generally used to describe a specific type of dagger with a short curved blade that is worn on a belt. Although the term jambiya is also used in other Arab countries, it is mostly associated with people of Yemen. Men typically above the age of 14 wear it as an accessory to their clothing. Despite the significance of the jambiya, it is still a weapon. Although people have used it in times of dispute, there are societal norms that must be followed in order to avoid defamation. The jambiya should only come out of its sheath in extreme cases of conflict. It is also commonly used in traditional events such as dances.


© Eric Lafforgue

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Taken on January 1, 2008