The Dahman Amer horses of Ibn Hemsi

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on July 27th, 2011 in Arabia

In the XIXth and early XXth century, there was a famous and well-respected marbat of Dahman ‘Amer with Ibn Hemsi of the Gomussah clan of the Sba’ah Bedouins. The Blunts purchased two horses from that strain: Dahma, which they bought from “Oheynan Ibn Said” of the Gomussah (who had bought her from Ibn Hemsi), and Rataplan, which they bought from India.

Ibn Hemsi’s was the only marbat of Dahman ‘Amer among the Sba’ah. The horse to which the Blunt mare Hagar was in foal when they bought her on Jan. 4, 1878, was also from the same horses, because Hagar was still owned by the Sba’ah when she was bred to him (she was taken in war from the Sba’ah by the Ruwalah in the winter 1877/78, says Lady Anne, and then purchased by a Mawali Bedouin from the Ruwalah).

It is also very probable that *Wadduda’s sire, also a Dahman (no marbat mentioned), was or traced to the horses of Ibn Hemsi.

The Syrian horsebreeder, Ali al-Barazi, reports in his book this old Bedouin saying about a Dahman ‘Amer stallion which stood at stud with Ibn Hemsi, who used to charge one gold pound to breed from him: ‘”al-dhahab ‘ind Ibn Hemsi /  byisbih wa-byimsi” (it rhymes, as you can tell), which means: ‘gold at Ibn Himsi comes in the morning and in the evening’. What is meant is the popularity of the horse as a stallion made Ibn Himsi wealthy.

The Sba’ah Bedouin Jar Allah ibn Tuwayrish obtained a mare from Ibn Hemsi, and soon developed a marbat of his own, many representatives of which went to Egypt and become famous racehorses, like the Dahman ‘Amer of Abd Allah Sa’ud al-Tahawi (great grandsire of Folla, Futna, and Bint Barakat), and his nephew, a stallion called ‘Amer.  They formed the backbone of the Tahawi breeding program.

9 Responses to “The Dahman Amer horses of Ibn Hemsi”

  1. The Dahman Amer strain of Ibn Himsi is mentioned in the Abbas Pasha Manuscript:

    “Faysal ibn Shaalan said: as to the Dahmah of the Sba’ah, she is from the marbat of Falaj ibn Himsi”.

    “Husayn Ibn Shalhub [a Sba’ah sub-tribe leader] said: Falaj bought the Dahmah from Ali al-Dabkah [an important figure of the Abadilah which is one of the three tribes associated/allied with the Ruwalah], who testified that he had bought her from al-Ahmar of the Mutayr […], and Zayd ibn Hadhdhal [from the supreme leaders of the Anazah] testified that she was Dahmah Umm Amer, and that there was no doubt about her; and Saleh al-Marikhi confirmed Zeyd’s testimony and added that he knew that she belonged to the Sba’ah, and that they mated her [used males from its strain as stallions].

    “Baddah al-Marikhi [a leader of the Wasil section of the Burayyah subtribe of Mutayr] said that the Dahmah who was with the Sba’ah went from the Mareykhat [Baddah’s clan] to Ibn Saghir the lord of al-Khabraa [a town in Qassim in Central Arabia] and from him to ‘Anazah; and he said that she was Dahman Umm Amer,and that she is to be mated, and that the strain was cut off from them [ie from Mutayr].”

  2. Here it is worthy to note that the strain went from Ibn Himsi to Ibn Tuwayrish, and from the latter to the Barazi family of Hama, and from these to Ajil Al Yawar al-Jarba who bought a mare from the Barazi in the 1950s, and that the strain is apparently still present with the Yawar in Iraq. There was a horse from Ajil al-Yawar that used as a stallion in the area between Syria and Iraq in the early 1980s.

  3. i would like to ask abut Dahmah Umm Amer in iraq and syria the history and the horses also and what is the last horses is going from iraq to syria from Dahmah strain . and what is the name of Dahmah mare it was.t there in syria and it was mixed with other lines . and i would like to ask you abut Dahmah amir in qatar . what is the last dahmah amir is imported to qatar .

  4. i would like to ask abut Dahmah Umm Amer in iraq and syria the history and the horses also and what is the last horses is going from iraq to syria from Dahmah strain . and what is the name of Dahmah mares it was.t there in syria and it was mixed with other forien lines or not . and i would like to ask you abut Dahmah amir in qatar . what is the last dahmah amir is imported to qatar . – See more at: http://daughterofthewind.org/the-dahman-amer-horses-of-ibn-hemsi/comment-page-1/#comment-1534172

  5. The early stud books and also Homer Davenport’s catalogs describe *Wadduda’s sire as a Dahman Khomais, even though no substrain is mentioned in her hujjah. What do you know about the Dahman Khomais horses?

  6. I have not encountered it anywhere. As far as I can tell, Khomais is just a mispronunciation of Hemsi. The H and the Kh were undistinguisable to a Western ear (Halawi versus Khallawi, Hedili versus Khdili).

    Dahman was a rare strain in North Arabia, and we only know of two root marabet, that of Ibn Hemsi with the Sba’ah, which is Dahman Umm Amer, and that of Ibn Maajil with the Ruwalah (with one of the satellites in fact), which is Dahman Shahwan.

  7. For what it’s worth, Roger Upton in Gleanings from the Desert (1881) does list Dahman Khomais as one of four substrains of Dahman (along with abu Amr, Shawan, and Moadjil)–he does not have a separate listing for Hemsi. Carl Raswan in his Index implies that “Khumayis” is another way to write “Hemsi.” See in particular entries 3469 for Hamisi, 5156 for Khumayis, and 10829 for *Wadduda.

  8. In Upton, Moadjil is Maajil (of Sabbah, Ma’naqi ibn Maajil fame), and these were Dahman Shahwan. Barakat of the Tahawis was from these.

  9. Edouard, thanks for the tip on this. Now I understand what you were saying over the weekend!

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