EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Blue Lander, far from a dud!!!!
While of course 'rough' it is a sound example of a blade which has probably been in circulation for a considerable time, and as noted, has been rather radically reprofiled. The hilt corresponds to certain Maghrebi forms, loosely of the type often seen on s'bula from Moroccan regions, and which have ranged in diffusion all the way to Zanzibar on trade routes. The use of wood brings to mind certain Tunisian hilt forms as Iain has mentioned.
Returning to the blade, these distinct cross forms, particularly in the quadriform configuration seem to correspond to other examples seen occasionally on koummya if I recall correctly . The blade I would take for probably an 18th century German trade product and I suspect many of these to have ended up in the Maghreb. It seems that 'nimcha' sometimes have similar and on European origin blades of these forms which continued in production well into the 19th c.
Often trying to definitively classify ethnographic weapons by a typological term is pure folly, as these blades not only were recycled and remounted from one generation to the next. The term 'Berber' of course covers an immense scope across Saharan regions, but may be considered broadly in descriptions while remaining correctly applied .
I would consider this to be a Saharan knife with radically re profiled heavy sabre or cutlass blade of German import and probably as now mounted with tribal origins along Berber inhabited regions from Maghreb to Tunis. The blade likely latter 18th into 19th.