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Old 6th November 2011, 06:03 PM   #1
chregu
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Default Afar knife

my current fund
Afar knife. Smells like cow! smile
Who knows more about it? grateful for any information.
greeting Chregu
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Old 7th November 2011, 05:00 AM   #2
Jim McDougall
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A classic ethnographic piece Chregu!
I'm not sure what you'd like to know about these, but as always I try to find out about the history around the weapon. Clearly it is a modern weapon, but the nomadic tribal Afar (Danakil) people who use these knives which are termed 'gile' are pastoral and herd cattle as well as goats and sheep.

They inhabit the regions in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia bit most known for the Ethiopian region known as the Danakil Depression, a desert known often as the 'cruelest place on earth' for its dramatic and harsh temperatures.
From most of what little is written on these, the blades are typically from car or truck springs and metal files. The men of the tribes of these people are well known for martial prowess, however these knives are utilitarian as well and this weapon seems used so unlikely a 'tourist' item, which is I think too often assigned to modern items still used or worn by many ethnic groups in present times.

"African Arms & Armour" C.Spring, British Museum, 1993, pp.103-105

attached: Afar nomad and in pink, the Afar regions of Ethiopia

Hope this will be of some help

All the best,
Jim
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Old 8th November 2011, 05:27 PM   #3
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hi Jim
Thanks for your help. what do you think about the 50s would have to agree?
many greetings Chregu
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Old 8th November 2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Hello Chregu,

let me also enter: I think it is hard to say if fifties, sixties or seventies - the pommel and the blade are nicely worn, on the other side the sheath is very well preserved. The most important is it is nice knife made for use by the local people, and definitely not now. And it was worn and used - constantly for years, as you can even smell...
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Old 8th November 2011, 07:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chregu
hi Jim
Thanks for your help. what do you think about the 50s would have to agree?
many greetings Chregu



Thank you Chregu for the response, and absolutely my pleasure. I am grateful for your posting this, there really is not a great deal on them in most literature but they are certainly of use into modern times. I agree with Martin's time assessment, probably in the 60s but a genuinely used piece.

All the very best,
Jim
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Old 8th November 2011, 08:42 PM   #6
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Hi people, I visited AFAR in february and many people were dressing knives like this and I was looking to find a better and older one but without success in the field. You get better examples in the shops in Addis Ababa but in any case it is quite difficult to export because at the airport they can stop you and prevent to carry with you. At least an old knife. May be a new one is not a problem. For the older one they said is a national heritage !! In any case you can also find many of them in the net. In my opinion the scabbard of this knife is quite well made and look much older than most of the knives I have seen. Apparently the tip of the scabbard is missing. It is usually made of brass. The handle also is quite well worn and the blade looks fresher because it has been deeply cleaned, may be to sell it. I suppose it is older than the '50thies but I do not know much more.
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Old 8th November 2011, 09:44 PM   #7
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Hi Mauro, used Afar type knife or dagger used to be favourite souvenier in Ethiopia in mid 90s. Afars and others used to sell their old knives to Addis´ vendors and they immediately employed new knives. Sheaths did not have always metal tips and I think it also depends on the region, and if Afar, afarised Oromo etc. Even "old" Afar knives, when constantly used, had clean and nearly shiny blades - this is what I saw among Kereyu.
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Old 9th November 2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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hello together
Hi Martin nice to read from you!
Thanks for your help.
I've photographed a few details.
the front of the sgabard is a kind of pocket. and see the contents of her in the photo.
on the razor blade is: OREL Trademark
I found the net on the fly or nothing about it.
greeting Chregu
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Old 9th November 2011, 10:15 PM   #9
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Hi Chregu,

I like this patina on the scabbard.

Conventional single-point razor-blades are videly used in Africa by ordinary people, not only for shaving, but mostly as a tool - for accurate cutting, e.g. of leather. Traditional European producers vere pushed out from the African market by Chinese fakes (they copied even the trademarks and signs "made in...) - especially in East Africa. (Since I am in Nigeria now, I can say, that Nigeria is the biggest trade partner of the Czech Republic as far as this kind of razor-blades is concerned.) Orel means eagle in Czech and some other Slavonic languages, but I googled it and I found out it was, very probably, German producer. I do not know if "Orel" is still produced. If not, it could be interesting to find out when the production was stopped.

- So, the owner of the knife has hidden very useful tool in the sheath.

Regards,
Martin
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Old 10th November 2011, 11:35 PM   #10
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Thanks Martin for the info. I supposed that something similar occurred among Afar people. Also thanks to Chregu for the nice photos of the scabbard that it is really a nice one.
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Old 10th November 2011, 11:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
Hi Chregu,

I like this patina on the scabbard.

Conventional single-point razor-blades are videly used in Africa by ordinary people, not only for shaving, but mostly as a tool - for accurate cutting, e.g. of leather. Traditional European producers vere pushed out from the African market by Chinese fakes (they copied even the trademarks and signs "made in...) - especially in East Africa. (Since I am in Nigeria now, I can say, that Nigeria is the biggest trade partner of the Czech Republic as far as this kind of razor-blades is concerned.) Orel means eagle in Czech and some other Slavonic languages, but I googled it and I found out it was, very probably, German producer. I do not know if "Orel" is still produced. If not, it could be interesting to find out when the production was stopped.

- So, the owner of the knife has hidden very useful tool in the sheath.

Regards,
Martin


Wow! Martin, perfectly deduced forensics!!!! I never would have thought of that razor blade as a clue! excellent
Thank you for sharing that and now I'm anxious to find out more on the outcome.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 11th November 2011, 05:03 PM   #12
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hello together
I found something
have no idea if this goes?
if not, I ask for help. photo of razor blades OREL
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File Type: doc Dok1.doc (245.0 KB, 345 views)
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Old 13th November 2011, 06:20 PM   #13
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I am not able to open it. Please upload again
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Old 18th November 2011, 04:22 PM   #14
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I Try again.
It's not sorry. no idea how I insert this Word document.
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Old 18th November 2011, 11:04 PM   #15
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Orel label.
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Old 18th November 2011, 11:36 PM   #16
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Thanks Ferguson. I had a very fast look at Orel razor blades and I found many in between 1930 and 1943 but not exactly the same label. I shall have a deeper look
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