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Alan Villiers | His Ottoman sword and traditional Arab dress

Property of a Gentleman

Alan Villiers | His Ottoman sword and traditional Arab dress

Alan Villiers | His Ottoman sword and traditional Arab dress

Authenticity guarantee

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Property of a Gentleman

Alan Villiers

His Ottoman sword and traditional Arab dress, comprising:

i. Ottoman sword and scabbard: the steel blade engraved with sun and moon motifs, housed in a decorated scabbard with red tasseled cords

ii. Two bishts (traditional Arab cloaks), black cloth, edged with gold embroidery and tassels, presented to Alan and Nancie Villiers on their visit to Kuwait in 1967 (2)

iii. Three thawbs or dishdashas, white cotton full length robes with long sleeves (3)

iv. Five keffiyehs (head-scarves) (5)

v. Three agal (rope cords) (3)

vi. Two taqiyahs (caps) (2)


Alan Villiers (1903-82) was an experienced and adventurous sailor and writer, who in the mid-1930s had circumnavigated the globe in his own sailing ship. In December 1938 he took passage in Aden on a traditional Kuwaiti boom (a medium-sized form of dhow) called the Bayan, translated by Villiers as Triumph of Righteousness. The Bayan sailed through the Gulf of Aden then down the East African coast to Mombasa and Zanzibar, taking on a cargo of mangrove poles in the Rufiji Delta, and then returning to the Gulf, reaching Kuwait in June 1939. Villiers immersed himself in shipboard life, learning about Arab sailing culture, traditions, and navigation techniques, as well as taking an important series of photographs (see also lots 79 and 81).

There are several photographs of Villiers showing him with this sword in the Gulf in the 1930s; one of these photographs taken in Kuwait in 1939 shows Villiers holding this sword (illustrated in Alan Villiers, Sons of Sindbad: The Photographs, p. 31); a print of this photograph is also included in lot 81.


cf. Villiers, Alan J. (2006), Sons of Sindbad: The Photographs. Introduced by William Facey, Yacoub al-Hijji and Grace Pundyk. London: National Maritime Museum / Arabian Publishing, page 31


Alan Villiers (1903-1982); thence by descent

Condition is described in the main body of the cataloguing, where appropriate.

Please note that Condition 12 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.