Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
In my opinion most of these thuluth covered weapons were either produced or imported and decorated at Omdurman during the Khalifa's time (1885-98). These thuluth (script) etchings were essentially couplets which were repetitive into an almost Arabesque motif as an invocation/imbuement.
There are accounts of the considerable weaponry retrieved at Omdurman, many with such decoration as well as crocodile and lizard skin (as on your hilt) mounts.
In many cases these weapons were to the chiefs or key figures in the many slave oriented elements of these forces, conscripted in other regions and often using their favored weapon forms. The throwing knives and other unusual forms not indigenous to Sudan are often among these.
The polearms with huge (almost ace of spades looking) blade covered in thuluth were often used by these key figures in units for formation of troops, much like a unit guidon, and termed 'alem'.