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Old 1st March 2016, 03:44 PM   #11
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Thank you Colin, and I think one of the most fascinating things about ethnographic arms are the cross cultural dynamics and vestigial features and symbolism.
Just as with the adoption by native cultures of the various markings and sometimes inscriptions from variously acquired European arms, typically this has been construed as perhaps somewhat talismanic. This seems particularly the case with the cosmologically themed groupings, which seem to have lent to the well known 'dukari' moons which may likely have begin with Hausa made blades.

While hard features such as a langet as seen here, which obviously could not have had practical application in this particular context, it does seem to carry compelling similarity. Clearly European features such as knuckleguard may have been seen as having the intended use and advantage, but in something like this we can only wonder what the intent might have been.
It is tempting to think of bringing such features into the concept that perhaps they might carry the imbuement of the European quality that seems so often sought after, but such thoughts are almost impossibly subjective ideas

Very good point Kronckew, and while guards seem to have been characteristic of the majority of sword types such as takouba and kaskara, these from West Africa, Camaroon, Manding from Mali and others seem to typically have no guard.
Just as with shashka and of course, the Omani cylindrical hilted sa'if (often termed kattara) there does seem to be the situation where the blade was not used to parry. This is typical of virtually most native swordplay technique, and indeed, the shield or bucker was used in defensive parry.

Good return on the note concerning the slaving topic, and as this unfortunate commerce was prevalent not only obviously in West Africa, but in the East via Zanzibar, and throughout African interior with the trade networks, clearly such 'combat' features would not be required on swords.
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