Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   etched kaskara blade? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8269)

stephen wood 25th January 2009 10:08 PM

etched kaskara blade?
 
4 Attachment(s)
...here I go again :)

Just finished on Ebay - a museum apparently told the seller that it was mid 17th century...

Jim McDougall 25th January 2009 10:26 PM

Hi Stephen,
This is one of the central fuller type blades often seen on kaskara, and does correspond to European trade blade forms, but I doubt the 17th century suggestion. Naturally further research or close examination of the blade in hand might reveal more.
It is hard to see from the photos, but the etching would correspond loosely to the acid etched broad stroke 'thuluth' calligraphy applied as motif during the Mahdist period on not only kaskara, but many of the weapons from the arsenals, especially Khartoum. It would be interesting to compare the etching here with the Mahdist examples.
Thanks again for sharing these kaskara subjects.

Best regards,
Jim

katana 25th January 2009 10:49 PM

Hi Stephen :) ,
have you 'hacked' into my eBay 'watched items' :eek: ???? We seem to be following the same items... ;)

I am very dubious of eBay listings stating 'museum identification' ...afterall , if it was true, wouldn't you (as the seller) get a signed,written statement supporting that fact, photograph it and add it to the listing ???

Regards David

stephen wood 25th January 2009 10:52 PM

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...thanks Jim. I took the dating with a pinch of salt...

What about the tang? Isn't there usually a hole to secure the hilt? (see image) Also the tang looks like it was added rather than being an integral part of the blade. I general though I think it could be a kaskara...

The "thuluth" blades tend to be shorter, wider, blunt and thinner in my experience.


Re. the museum, the seller took it to Rochester Museum in the 80's...not as if Christopher Spring had a look :)

katana 25th January 2009 11:57 PM

The maker is D.Peres ...

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cach...clnk&cd=3&gl=uk

More pics of a similar blade .....it also explains the rivet hole in the tang. Although this has two.

http://pages.mikebrackin.com/5089/P...3923313028.html

Also one discussed here
http://216.219.192.186/vb/printthread.php?t=4080

Regards David

stephen wood 26th January 2009 12:51 AM

...sorry for the confusion David - I posted the D.Peres image to illustrate that the tang usually has a hole - it's not the blade in question but a previous post.

katana 26th January 2009 02:21 AM

Hi Stephen,
if I had looked 'properly' at the original pictures....I would have realised the D.Peres sword picture was not of the original posted :o .....Its been a long day !

The fuller is as wide as the rather short tang with little or no shoulder, also, the tang seems as 'thick' as the remaining metal's 'thickness' between the fullers.....seems 'weak' to me....and probably not to the original sword's spec. (assuming this was a functional weapon, and not ceremonial/talismatic or a tourist piece)The tang looks like its formed from 'stock removal' rather than forged.

Regards David

stephen wood 26th January 2009 08:23 AM

...thanks David. What is "stock removal"?

katana 26th January 2009 09:32 AM

Hi Stephen,
stock removal is the shaping of the part by the removal of metal (filing, grinding) to create the object /shape. The tang does not look 'forged to shape' on this blade ....but the pictures are not that good.

Usually with such a short tang and no rivet holes I would have thought this was 'resin' set into a hilt

Regards David

stephen wood 26th January 2009 02:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This image shows how a blade with such an unpierced tang is fixed into the hilt.

It is a "thuluth" kaskara - note how wide and flat the blade is and the characteristic "rounded" pommel.


Jim McDougall 26th January 2009 11:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen wood
...thanks Jim. I took the dating with a pinch of salt...

What about the tang? Isn't there usually a hole to secure the hilt? (see image) Also the tang looks like it was added rather than being an integral part of the blade. I general though I think it could be a kaskara...

The "thuluth" blades tend to be shorter, wider, blunt and thinner in my experience.


Re. the museum, the seller took it to Rochester Museum in the 80's...not as if Christopher Spring had a look :)



Hi Stephen,

With that 'optimistic' date thrown out so cavalierly, I completely agree, and if someone said Spring had made that assessment I would've fallen over!! :)

I'm not really well versed at commenting on the hilting process of these weapons, as most of my observation has been external, but I am inclined to think David is correct, the tang seems unusually short. (thank you for those links David!).

As we have seen, with the example you posted previous to this, the mounting and refurbishing of these weapons in Sudan, seems not to be simply a tourist intended cottage industry, but swords are still being traditional heirlooms that do often receive much older blades. In many Sudanese regions, especially Darfur I believe, the kaskara sword remains a proud traditional accoutrement, though not necessarily intended for actual use.
Perhaps that is why the tang on this one was short as it needed only to place the blade in the hilt, regardless of functionality.

It seems that the 'thuluth' acid etched blades are often decoratively applied, contrary to many of the meaningfully inscribed 'lohr' type panels carrying reverently placed invocations on most higher quality kaskara. Most of these profusely etched blades derive from the Mahdist period, and were of course produced for many years thereafter. I have never fully understood whether this decorative calligraphy was intelligible or not. In most cases of the very thoroughly covering use, it was not.

Thank you for the great graphics showing the mounting characteristics on these. It's truly helpful to see how these were put together!

All very best regards,
Jim

stephen wood 31st January 2009 09:27 PM

2 Attachment(s)
...I have been able now to make some better images, including a negative (which can show the etching better).

Now that I've actually handled it I can add; it is actually very well-made and appears to be quite old - there are areas of pitting and wear. There is nothing of the rather "raw" look that some of the (short/wide/flat) etched blades possess.

It is 36" long (not including the tang), 2" at it's widest point tapering to 1 1/2".
Unsharpened. There is a single broad fuller. The etching consists of what appears to be a single 3-character "phrase" repeated along both edges and a longer "phrase" etched in the fuller towards the ricasso. Identical on both sides.

It is quite unlike any kaskara I have handled before - closer I think than anything I have seen to the Islamic swords that are said to be the kaskara's antecedent.
I wonder if anyone can pick out the script from the new images?

stephen wood 7th February 2009 06:23 PM

IT'S CLAUBERG...
 
1 Attachment(s)
...a gentle clean has revealed the partially visible W. CLAUBERG SOLINGEN mark on the tang. I have seen kaskaras with Clauberg blades before but none like this broad, single-fullered type.

I understand that Clauberg blades, with their trademark of a man in armour, were known in Arabic-speaking countries as Abu Askari - bearer of the soldier.

I have as yet been unable to take a clear photo of the stamp - here is the same mark on a Civil War Officers' Sabre.

Interesting how some kaskara blades which were thought to be unmarked are revealing maker's marks on, or near, the tang - in this case it had to be the tang as there's no ricasso.

Atlantia 7th February 2009 06:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen wood
This image shows how a blade with such an unpierced tang is fixed into the hilt.

It is a "thuluth" kaskara - note how wide and flat the blade is and the characteristic "rounded" pommel.



God that's so unfair!
I want my own X-Ray machine :(

stephen wood 7th February 2009 06:44 PM

:)

Jim McDougall 7th February 2009 07:44 PM

Thank you for the update Stephen, and the Civil War period seems to well correspond with the W.Clauberg maker of Solingen. It seems I have seen quite a few Union sabres of the Civil War with that marking and name.
Interesting to note that in U.S. regulation patterns, one of the first actual patterns was the M1840 cavalry sabre, affectionately (?) termed by the troops, the 'old wristbreaker'. This descriptive term resulted in reality more from insufficient training and regular use by the men than any defect in the swords balance. When the pattern was first introduced, there was a great deal of conflict concerning contracts, and if memory serves, some of the first issues were produced by Solingen makers (I think it might have been Walscheid, but cant recall offhand).

Interesting to see how late these 'early' form sword blades were produced, though commonly held that these kaskara trade blades were 18th century.
The 'thuluth' term, it seems I read, actually means 'third'.

All best regards,
Jim

stephen wood 17th October 2009 12:52 PM

...inside the fuller near the hilt on both sides 1258 Mohammad Ahmed which is the name of the Mahdi and a Gregorian date of around 1842 - two years before his birth :confused: I saw one recently with the same.


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