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Old 25th February 2021, 12:27 AM   #1
JoeCanada42
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Default African sword, Unusual Handle, Akokonan? or?

I recently Acquired this sword, I have since discovered It was on the forum previously, I have a theory on the Handle some may find interesting. I am open to hear any further ideas or alternate theories. I will explain my main interpretation of the figural handle after posting photos.
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:28 AM   #2
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more photos
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:31 AM   #3
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more photos ..
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:33 AM   #4
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more photos...
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:37 AM   #5
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images for thought
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Old 25th February 2021, 12:37 AM   #6
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My theory in notes..
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Old 25th February 2021, 01:29 AM   #7
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Very interesting theory. Would explain many of the stylistic motifs on many African weapons, and would establish a common symbolic language across seemingly disparate designs.

This is a quote from numerous websites:" "The hen treads on her chicks, but she does not kill them." This represents the ideal nature of parents, being both protective and corrective"

An interesting philosophy to be applied to weapons. A ruler (of a state, tribe, village, or family) might use force to protect their own and or maintain order.
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Old 25th February 2021, 01:09 PM   #8
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A very interesting piece, I have been searching all the books I have for anything similar but have found nothing. However I could add some more speculation. The blade looks like one of those long arm knife blade but I do not think it is or related to them. The picture {panga na visu. Kurzwaffen, geschmiedete Kultgegenstande und Schilde aus Afrika. Manfred A Zirngibl & Alexander Kubetz. Publisher HePelo Verlag 2009} I post here might be a pointer. The scabbard has the look and construction of weapons from the Cameroon and western borders. The hilts in the picture could be related and perhaps your piece maybe some variant as most often with African pieces you are always looking at large areas of peoples with much crossover of culture and language. Worth a look anyway.
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Old 25th February 2021, 04:59 PM   #9
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...every morning in Africa, as soon as the sun rises, a blacksmith finds a way to make a mysterious sword, for the sole purpose of driving some Western collectors crazy ...
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Old 26th February 2021, 12:10 AM   #10
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Shayde78 thank you for your support, id like to hear what others say about my interpretation of the roosters influence on weapons. there is still a lot I have to say about it...

Tim Simmons, Thank you for taking the time to look for similar pieces,
i don't feel there is much similar between the Tula and my sword, yes the Tula and my sword both look like Celtic antenna swords, but I don't feel any true connections.

Duccio, I think you comment is a little foolish, do the blacksmiths use antique scabbards every day, also to drive the westerners crazy.
I could easily say everyday in Africa the sun rises, a rooster calls, a blacksmith who is regarded in Africa as a magician works the elements, and using the skills of his ancestors, builds a piece with real soul and magical intent without a concern for the westerner who is blind to a world of magic. and I can say every day in the west a foolish person throws out an antique relic, or a cultural treasure, because they assume stuff coming from other countries are only made to fool a westerner ..,
lets not generalize, do you feel what you said is particular to my sword, you could be specific. you could explain why? something specific about the sword or theory?, or because you have a negative view of African blacksmiths?, or because you haven't seen this before? your comment kind of detracts and belittles, instead of disagreeing.
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Old 26th February 2021, 08:04 AM   #11
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My comment was meant to be a joke, from a poor collector of African blades who would like to get to know that world in depth but who occasionally has to collide with mysterious objects, such as the one you present here.
I was referring to a famous African proverb, quoted by Christopher McDougall:
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

I assure you that I had no intention of making fun of anyone, much less the African blacksmiths, on the contrary I intended to emphasize the vastness and depth of a world whose understanding, just as Westerners, often eludes us completely.
I repeat, I did not mean to offend anyone; if it did not, I deeply apologize.
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Old 26th February 2021, 12:30 PM   #12
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Duccio sorry if I jumped to conclusions. It is not possible to tell if a comment is intended as a joke.. Thank you for clarifying. And for Sharing the Proverb.
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Old 26th February 2021, 12:41 PM   #13
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No problem, I'm glad that everything is cleared up.
Believe me, I take these objects and those who manufacture them very seriously, but sometimes I feel frustrated, to verify the depth of my ignorance ... and then I cheer myself up with a joke ...
Best wishes.
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Old 26th February 2021, 05:24 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeCanada42
Duccio sorry if I jumped to conclusions. It is not possible to tell if a comment is intended as a joke.. Thank you for clarifying. And for Sharing the Proverb.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Duccio
No problem, I'm glad that everything is cleared up.
Believe me, I take these objects and those who manufacture them very seriously, but sometimes I feel frustrated, to verify the depth of my ignorance ... and then I cheer myself up with a joke ...
Best wishes.


For what it is worth, I wanted to commend you both for taking the time to 1) address a perceived insult (not always easy to do), 2) respond to the person who felt they were being disrespected (also not always easy to do, 3) doing all this in a respectful manner, and 4) being willing to hear the other person's side of things and come to a resolution. It doesn't always happen, and I felt compelled to acknowledge that the two of you did it well. This is the kind of discourse I have come to expect from this forum (and seems increasingly rare elsewhere), but I never want to take it for granted, so well done to both of you.
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Old 27th February 2021, 03:20 PM   #15
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shayde 78 thank you for the commendations, this forum has class, I will try not to mess it up too much,
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Old 27th February 2021, 09:59 PM   #16
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Default Link to previous discussion on this sword

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=dongola

As I had mentioned on the thread linked, the shape of this blade brings to mind Dongola in the Sudan along the Nile. The highly stylized hilt recalls certain anthromorphic swords and weapons to the south, especially in Congo regions. Many of the 'throwing knives' of these areas and into Sudan have these kinds of dramatically stylized shapes, and while many are indeed weapons used as intended, many African weapons are highly symbolic for ceremonial, status and ritual purposes.

With this blade shape, this is clearly not a 'throwing knife', which as noted have these elaborate shapes, its use in status or official bearing seems possible.

Joe, I very much like your ratiocination and thank you for sharing your notes and sketches!!! I knew I had seen this before somewhere, so thanks for bringing it back up, I'd like to get it figured out.

On the 'editoral' notes, guys, nicely handled at keeping the P.C. beast in check. It is hard when we are expressing things anecdotally or in such mediums as in these public venues things can easily be taken wrong.

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Old 27th February 2021, 11:11 PM   #17
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Just to add more comparative thought, I cannot resist thinking of the so called 'antenna swords' of the late Bronze age Hallstadt culture, these attached are 10th c. BC found near Swiss lake Neuchatel.
Obviously, aside from using von Daniken thinking, it would be beyond tenuous to associate this weapon to these with the chronological and anthropological disparities. However, the similarities are notable.

With my note on the Dongola type blade, here is an example from a collection (c. 1998). Note the crocodile piercing in blade (I have seen another with this feature) and the curious bar across the pommel end of grip. This is mindful of various European forms of baselard from medieval into Renaissance times.

We know that a number of African weapons seem to have evolved atavistically from probably iconographic sources, and it is possible this might be the case, in much the same manner of the baselard type elements.
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Old 28th February 2021, 02:46 PM   #18
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Default Further thoughts on the design of the hilt on this sword

In continuing reading through resources seeking more information on the possibilities for this sword (orig. post) , the chapter "The Shining Mystery: Throwing Knives of Africa" in "African Arms and Armour" (Christopher Spring, 1993) is most telling.

In this, the nature of these curious and often wildly varying type of weapon is explained, from the often fanciful presumptions described by some Victorian authors, to the more reasonable awareness of their uses in other capacities .

Pitt Rivers, the brilliant anthropologist wrote on these in 1875, and in 1925 Emil Torday wrote on these multibladed 'knives' from the perspectives of the Kuba( Bushong) people.

In 1872, Nachtigal narrated that these types of weapons were largely 'throwing irons' used as a means of exchange, that is currency. This appears to have been the case in numerous tribal societies in these African regions.
In 1925, Thomas prepared a chart trying to classify the various forms.
This seemed to delineate them basically in a northern and southern category with variations in the blade arrangements.

The reason for this foray into the mystery of these 'throwing irons' is that the geometric pattern in this hilt seems quite possibly to be a kind of symmetric arrangement of these weapons, coupled with the type of actual blade used in Dongola.

As we know 'throwing knives' were used in Darfur and Kordofan, mostly in the status and official sense symbolically, it seems this might be some sort of diplomatic example, combining both weapon and the currency or exchange character of the 'shongo' to the south. Here I would note that the Darfur regions were highly active in slaving, which would possibly use this kind of 'exchange' currency, although it would not explain the 'Dongola' type blade, unless such activity incorporated those regions as well.

Just thoughts on the possibilities of 'throwing knife' characteristics as seen on this sword and why they might have been applied to a blade of possible Dongola style.
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Old 28th February 2021, 05:58 PM   #19
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Thanks again Jim , I like the idea of the occurrence of an atavistically inspired weapon.
Thanks for all the great info and photos also . I find the large round form in the center of the grip of some Celtic swords interesting.
maybe Von daniken and aliens don't need to be invoked.
I don't think we know that much anthropologically about the Celts
weren't there Celtic red hair mummies in Asia?
perhaps maybe in History cultures had a lot more dispersal and interaction.
Didn't the domestic chicken come from the east. and Europe was the last place to get chicken farming. following my interest in the rooster/chicken as the inspiration for weapons, I have found some weapons from India , And some from china.
I will post 2 photos soon, 1 sword has a symbol on the scabbard I am curious about.
also about my sword I would like to mention it is also essentially a two handed sword. I will try to get a picture also, I find the pictures say more than words. the sword design being symmetrical also makes it easy to change hands, as the grip is always facing the right way. the point of balance of the sword is 6 inches forward from the bottom grip. I find the bottom grip quite comfortable. I think this is a very functional design, and perhaps the handle may be older than the blade.
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Old 28th February 2021, 11:44 PM   #20
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I want to share some of my African research before I move on to the east.
I found the deity Shango of interest as he is associated with the rooster and lightning. I also find the rooster itself mentioned as a deity that shoots lightning. and I find lightning associated with meteorites. so called lightning iron.
I think Africa would have a greater occurrence of meteorites then most other locations. I also had notes somewhere that the Gibeon meteorite was used to make samurai swords in china circa 1838 by Yoshido.
Also Shango is said to have been a human king who burned down his own palace for various reasons... due to his lightning.
I find some similarity between my sword handle and this shango lightning symbol I will post below. Also i will post some Oshe wands, I do think the rooster influence and inspiration has much older origin than shango.
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Old 28th February 2021, 11:56 PM   #21
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I found weapons from India with the rooster but they are for sale so I wont post them.
Currently I am looking at Chinese swords for any influence of the rooster. I will post 4 pictures, one is a two handed bronze age iron sword with a unique handle, not similar, but it kind of shows the evolution of the handle shapes I think.
the sword with the antenna handle was called a Balkan celt sword, the third sword is an old Chinese sword with simply a similar blade shape, the forth and fifth photos are Jian swords, and I am very curious about the cut out symbol motifs wich vary between swords. Some Jian swords have the motif which looks very like the akoko nan. I am looking to find a Jian with symbol exactly like the akokonan to share I saw one on a YouTube video about a Ming sword.
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Old 1st March 2021, 12:10 AM   #22
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I think the Jian sword is associated with a bird the Jian, which has interesting myth, it is a bird that has one wing and one eye and needs to find its mate in order to fly.
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Old 1st March 2021, 12:16 AM   #23
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also I have to post this.. Abraxas... it is rooster related,, whats he holding? just curiously similar shapes and form in general. I dont know of any connection yet, but. it gets me thinking,
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Old 1st March 2021, 12:23 AM   #24
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never mind i actually just answered my own question.
curious it also resemble most double headed eagles such as in masonry or heraldry .
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Old 1st March 2021, 12:38 AM   #25
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the two headed bird is now flying in the air (multiples small swirls)
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Old 1st March 2021, 01:50 AM   #26
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here is a different example of the symbol on a Jian called ceremonial late qing
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Old 1st March 2021, 02:12 AM   #27
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I cant find any confirmation the Jian bird is actually related to the name Jian given to the sword, but it seems obvious.
even the myth about two birds coming together relates to the weapon and the user.

that each member of the pair must join together if they are to fulfil their potential.

the sword needs a wielder, and the wielder needs a sword.

humans don't have claws, fangs, spikes or poison(or spurs like a chicken/rooster ), were evolved to wield a weapon.

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Old 1st March 2021, 02:54 AM   #28
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now this is just random musings at this point and will be the last though i share for today. hopefully someone will step in and say something sensible. in the latest jian sword I posted there is the flying dragon facing the Jian bird.
i find that cute as the dragon could be seen to represent a dinosaur, and we are even learning dinosaurs have feathers, infact dinosaurs turned into birds, the rooster/chicken is infact the closest related animal to the Trex. Roosters lost theyre fangs and claws and gained a spur, humans made our own spurs(blade weapons), we defeated the dragons and beasts in nature and now we rule the world. when at one point Trex was on top.

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Old 2nd March 2021, 02:35 AM   #29
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I found an Italian sword I have a photo of, I will post when possible, it is for sale... it has an eagle heraldic, the tail and the wings are very similar to the jian.
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Old 2nd March 2021, 05:42 AM   #30
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This has become an interesting look into the kinds of symbolism which influences the elements and decoration of various ethnographic edged weapons. While not necessarily directly connected, and many similarities are of course convergently created, one can only wonder how far influences can diffuse through the complex networks of trade.

In going through various references it is interesting to see how ancient weapon designs can occur atavistically, and to see the for example certain African weapons which are remarkably like some seen in ancient Egypt.

It seems that many of the tribal sword and edged weapon forms which are designed for certain traditional, official and ceremonial purposes often are decorated in artistic renditions of proverbs and other tribal references.
This character is found in many of these from the West African countries and into the Congo regions.

In accord with the design of this sword in the original post, I found this example captioned as a 'byongi parade sword' of the Ekonda people of the Congo. Naturally the teerm 'parade' is a western perception of a weapon used ceremonially in processions or events.

Note that the symmetrical features in this case are in the blade itself, while in the example featured in the orig post it comprises the hilt design.

The interesting look into the symbolism of various birds, chickens etc. as used in other cultural weaponry motif, compare well to the similarity of such zoomorphic representation with the 'hen' simile in West African adinkra symbols....and compellingly like the upward extensions on this hilt.

I would note here that animal horns may be possibly intended on those, and that with the Asante people in Ghana, the sword bearer wears a helmet with horns. I believe that rams horns are intended in this case, pertaining to a proverb concerning a ram. Perhaps the same convention might apply with this hilt to some such proverb ?
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