Originally Posted by Iain
Just a brief footnote, as the owner of quite a few of these export oriented triple fullers, I have no problem with many of them being placed in the 18th century potentially. Certainly I would not say the majority are in the latter part of the 19th, but at least the first half of the 19th.
See known examples from colonial activity in Algeria etc with early dates which points to at least late 18th century hilting...
Anyways not to disrupt the discussion on the hilt types. Just wanted to clarify that in an African/non European context these triple fullers are probably falling into the 18th century as much as the 19th in terms of manufacture.
There are subtle differences between the older ones and the later ones, mainly to do with a more rounded profile of the blade, giving a slight arch to the cross section sloping to the cutting edges, while the later ones are completely flat on the faces of the blade.
Thanks very much on the clarification Iain, and you're right, many of these triple fullered blades certainly could be attributed to the 18th century. As you recall it seems that these days, most of these kinds of blades found in North African settings are typically of 19th century. It is hard to say exactly what period of 19th century as blades were constantly recycled and used for often countless generations as well as intratribally traded.
My point was directed toward the dukari type moons of the masri blades, which as Briggs notes, were a phenomenon restricted to North African context. While many of these blades arrived in Africa from Germany entirely unmarked, at some point the native armourers added these talismanically significant paired moons probably to those blades as well as the copies of them produced locally.
The paired moons of the dukari began in context as well recognizable versions of the astral themes often seen on European blades. The moon was particularly key to tribal folk religion and probably adapted readily to their 'magical' perceptions, and duality is another often applied allegorical instance.
We know that swords, particularly in the case of the Sudan, were not necessarily widely used tribally until the Mahdist period. Until then most tribes used spears or makeshift weapons, as evidenced in these campigns in their outset. In time, the moons applied to blades (actually these occur more commonly on Tuareg blades which are typically smaller), became remarkably degenerated . They became less recognizable and almost geometric stylizations, as seen on the blades of our discussion on the 1745 Anglo-Irish hilt.
The question is..why would a German blade, even of that mid 18th century vintage, end up with markings of a type distinct to 19th century North Africa? and appear in a hilt form that ceased use by the 1780s by British cavalry units, and the terminus ante quem of these moons is 19th century with these in form likely the latter part.
All the best,