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Old 22nd February 2014, 09:10 PM   #1
Claus
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Default Billao for comment

Hello,
as a newbie in Ethnographic Weapons i'm interested in your opinions about this dagger. It was sold as an "Antique Dagger, approx. 1930, forged Blade".
Forged blade ? Looks like grinded flat steel.
The handle is made of brass and horn/bone in octagonal shape. The pommel is peened with the blade.
I removed the verdigris carefully and let the blade untouched.
Blade lenght is 18cm
Overall lenght is 31cm
The scabbard is made of brown leather, simillar to items I found on my research in this forum and the internet.
Two things made me wonder.
The unusual pommel and the fuller with the blued triangles.
I dont see this on any other pics of billaos.
After a bit of research I would classify the dagger as somalia billao, middle to late 20th century.
Is my opinion about this dagger correct ?
Tourist piece or real tool?
Thank you for your help
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Old 23rd February 2014, 01:51 AM   #2
VANDOO
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THE DAGGER IS LIKELY A NEWER VERSION OF A SOMALI BILLAO SEE PICTURE #5. THE HANDLE IS MADE IN THE TRADITIONAL STACKED FORM OF BONE AND HORN. THE POMMEL AND THE BLADE ARE DIFFERENT THAN THE TRADITIONAL FORM. THE BLADE LOOKS CLOSER TO THE ETHIOPIAN GILE FORM.
1. TRADITIONAL FORM OF ETHIOPIAN GILE SHORT SWORD, AFAR TRIBE, FOR BLADE COMPARASON.
#2 &#3 TRADITIONAL FORM BILLAO
#5. EXAMPLES OF MODERN FORMS SOMALI BILLAO
#6 TRADITIONAL FORMS BILLAO

WELCOME TO THE FORUM. THE SEARCH FUNCTION WILL BRING UP OLDER POSTS WITH MORE INFORMATION ON THESE DAGGERS.
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Last edited by VANDOO : 23rd February 2014 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 23rd February 2014, 04:28 PM   #3
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi Claus and welcome to the forum,
Hi vandoo,

I think it is simplification to call alll Somali daggers just billao. "Somali Federative Republic" and its surrounding is big, consisting of many different "clans". This dagger is new, but, I would say it comes from differenet family - probably "tooray daggers". In Ethiopia I saw old pieces of this kind

Regards,
Martin
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Old 23rd February 2014, 04:44 PM   #4
Martin Lubojacky
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As far as "blued triangles" on the blade are concerned, it is not anything exceptional - at least four of the blades below were blackened too
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Old 23rd February 2014, 04:53 PM   #5
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi Claus and sorry - I did not look properly at the pictures and concerning those triangles I thought you were speaking just about the blackenig. I have not see such triangles on Somali weapons before - this is for the first time ...
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Old 23rd February 2014, 09:07 PM   #6
Claus
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Thanks for your welcome
After doing some more research and finding many more pictures from gilles,jile, billao,bilaawe ( many forms of writing ) and tooray daggers it seems to me that the traditional styles more and more mixed in the newer made daggers.
@ Martin Lubojacky: You're right it's simplification because we're talking about a big territory where this dagger may come from, so maybe the dagger can classify as northeast african dagger.
In "SomaliNetforums" i found another name for somalian daggers, "abley", but unfortunately no further information in which region, from which Clan/Tribe the name is used or what are the differences between the tooray and abley daggers. You know more?
About the blued triangles. I now have found an image from a past eBay auction with an Afar type dagger with some similar patterns.
I'd like to show it but I don't know if it's getting problems with the image rights
Regards,
Claus
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