Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Thank you very much for another thorough and outstanding reply - I appreciate the effort you put in your posts.
I agree that the topic of Trans-Saharan trade is fascinating. According to Elgood, the straight trade blades entered the Arab market through Egypt, where some of them were of course also used on the Sudanese saifs, which we call kaskaras. Spring on the other hand shows evidence about blades enetring from the other side of Africa, and being distributed all over the Northern part of the continent from Kano, nowadays Nigeria. The Omanis were certainly not afraid to venture deep into Africa, as evidenced by Tippu Tib's trips to Eastern Congo.
This is a question I have always had on the Omani kattara hilt - did the shape travel from West Africa to Oman, or vice versa? And what about the other type of kattaras with hilts, more like the hilts of old Arab broadswords (and not dissimilar to Hispano-Moresque swords? I remember reading somewhere, I think it was Elgood's book that these hilts, which are generally considered to be of an older variety, originated in the Omani enclave in Baluchistan, rather than in Oman proper. Does anyone have a hypothesis on this topic?