Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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MHLDRW 1st August 2019 10:25 PM

Unusual Kaskara
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I have a very ornate Kaskara with some very interesting etching on the blade. The sword is in incredible shape and unlike any kaskaras I have came across. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Ian 2nd August 2019 01:04 AM


Welcome to the Forum. Thanks for posting this interesting kaskara for discussion. I'm sure Ed Hunley (edster), Iain, and a few others will be along shortly to tell you about what you have. In the meanwhile, you might want to check out Ed's trilogy on the kaskara listed in our Classic Threads post at the top of the Ethnographic Forum Contents page. Ed has also prepared PDF files of these topics that can be found on the Geographic Index page here.

If you are looking for a translation of the writing on the blade we will need larger and better pictures, perhaps taken outside with indirect lighting so that reflections aren't so much of a problem and you don't need to use a flash. I look forward to hearing more about your sword.


Edster 2nd August 2019 03:38 AM


Welcome to the Forum, and thanks for submitting such an interesting kaskara.

The blade looks old. I'd say locally made due to the rather crude forging of the central fuller. The blade also looks thick and perhaps lacking sharpened edges, but that could be the lighting.

The text needs to be translated to provide better context. Likely, the cross & orb was inscribed along with the text. Its symbolism is ambiguous. It was used during the Funj era (1565ish to 1821) as a symbol of royal ownership, as a Christian religious and as a 19c. German maker's mark.

The crossguard looks old, perhaps 19c.

The hilt is of unique style in my experience. I suspect it is a rehilt much newer than the blade & crossguard. The white spacers look man-made (no age discoloration) and i've seen the small dotted circles on knife handles from late 20c. The silver mid-section is high quality and a nice design. I've never seen anything like it. It may be a reuse of wrist cuff tribal jewelry, but that's just a guess.

I'm sure my assessments are debatable. Just like in a good fish tale, "the first liar doesn't stand a chance". :-)

Best regards,

Iain 2nd August 2019 07:55 AM

An interesting piece, as Ed has alluded to this is very much a collection if differing elements.

The hilt style is found on daggers in areas like Dongola and Kordafan. The silver is a reused bracelet, it looks very similar to Rashaida work.

The blade is likely locally made, although better photos would greatly aid in determining this.

Overall this strikes me as a piece that was rehilted relatively recently.

MHLDRW 3rd August 2019 02:44 PM

Thank you so much for this info! I am going to take a couple more pictures of the details on the blade. As well as pictures of the scabbard.

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