Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   MINI GILE (

roanoa 12th June 2019 04:49 PM

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I just found this super "cute" Gile. It is only 10" long with a 6" blade. The handle, however, is fairly long. Same length of a full size Gile. So, I assume, it was made for an adult and not a child?? I have seen extra large Gile in the past, but never such a small one. It is well aged, so I do not believe it would be a recent tourist piece. Comments? Martin??

Kubur 13th June 2019 02:57 PM

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It seems that no one wants to talk about your mini gile.
It's a very nice piece and not a toy nor a touristic piece.
IMO it's an utility knife, the gile is more a machette or a short sword.

roanoa 16th June 2019 04:32 PM

Thanks, Kubur. I thought the "mini gile" would attract a few comments.... You are right, of course: the gile is a weapon (big knife or short sword). And this one is neither. Why would a utility knife, though, be shaped and decorated in such a way? I was hoping someone (especially Martin) had some evidence about its purpose.

Sajen 16th June 2019 08:15 PM

It's a very interesting item! Maybe a short dagger?


Martin Lubojacky 19th June 2019 05:29 AM

Hi Ron,

Too much work ...

The reason could be that time of big giles is over. Now you cannot see Afars and Kereyus freely and daily wearing this big daggers like 25 years ago. I donīt think that everything was sold to the shops for tourists in Addis (because of the shortage of money in the countryside). But wearing the big ones ... it is maybe forbidden now (but I am not sure), and not practical in modern times. Before they also did not wear bowie or normal style daggers, now they do (though in nice native sheaths). I think this small gile is not old, it was meant more or less as utility knife - and it was made under all this new circumstances


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