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Old 17th October 2017, 05:40 PM   #3
thinreadline's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 1,006

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In my opinion this is a pre Omdurman but post Mahdi item, and these kaskara were likely presented to tribal chieftains of conscripted groups from regions outside Sudan. This is suggested by the more elaborate thuluth and other motif etched on the blade. These were largely intended as symbols of rank and status and not intended as weapons.

Despite the claims that so much 'souvenier' stuff was produced after Omdurman for occupying forces, and often noting these crocodile covered scabbards etc. ...swords with this attention were not among them. We know that many thuluth etched weapons and crocodile hide elements were found on battlefields in these campaigns.

The smaller size it seems was for the convenience of wear as these were often worn in mounts over the shoulder and under the arm. Mounted chiefs often had larger kaskara attached to the saddle and under their leg, much as the traditional 'tuck' in earlier European times, and as British cavalry often had their swords in the latter 19th c.

Well Jim .... I am pleased you have said that , I had always been led to believe the same since my earliest days of collecting in the late 1960s ... but ones confidence can take a battering from the storm of info engulfing us from the net . I have owned ( and still do ) several swords of this type , but I thought this was a particularly nice example of its type. I do agree as well that it was never intended as a fighting sword , and is akin to the elaborately decorated status symbol weapons that were seen throughout Islamic Africa in the 19th C . I attach a picture of an example of onesuch from my collection .... sorry about the poor pictures the light is tricky in my hall .
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