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Old 17th August 2019, 07:57 PM   #8
Jim McDougall
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Glad to add what I can Drac. In looking further I used the following:
" A Late Military Use of the Sphero-Conical in the 19th c. Sudan"
Stephane Pradines, 2017, 'Journal of Islamic Archaeology'

This pertains to the unusual shape on the head of this mace, where similar use of old Mamluk spherical-conical vessels were used in these types of symbolic weapons in following the various Persian Sufi schools of the Faith.
These, as noted, were essentially for self defense in a perhaps spiritually oriented fashion. Here I think we may consider these in the same parlance of 'fakirs' or 'dervishes' as religious ascetics, in this case of the Sufi brotherhoods.

Much the same is probably the case with the axe, which was a symbol of rank in these kinds of Sufi contexts, and which I have seen similar (but with dual blades and spear head finial) in Mahdiyya groupings. As mentioned these were typically acid etched in the Qajar manner with various invocations etc. in the heavy calligraphy known as thuluth, but apparently not always.
With these they may have served in similar capacity as the 'alam' (standard) if so decorated, but in this case more likely a personal item and with perhaps markings as per the owners native tribal group.

See also: "Sufi in War: Persian Influence on African Weaponry in 19th c
Mahdist Sudan"
Stephane Pradines & Manoucher Khorasani
JAAS Vol. XXII , #5, 2018

With the conicals, these were often ancient vessels for valued ceremonial
ointments, fragrances etc. key in religious ritual and though some of the ceramic originals may have been used on these symbolic weapons, many seem duplicated in metal or stone.

With the axe and other personal examples, not all of these were likely to have been affected with the thuluth decoration, in fact it has seemed that the thuluth decorated examples often were produced copies of other indigenous native arms.

Regarding India as influence on arms in Sudan, the same influences of Persia and the Sufi were prevalent in much of India as Middle East, and there are examples of Indian weapons in the Sudan. The double bladed haladie is derived (via Mamluk Syria) as from early Rajput arms and the madu made of opposed buffalo horns, and is of course known as a weapon used by fakir ascetics.
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