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Old 20th June 2016, 03:38 AM   #1
kahnjar1
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Default AFRICAN???SWORD for ID and COMMENT

Another item out of my "comfort zone". I assume this is African also. The scabbard leather work is exceptionally good IMHO, both in quality and construction. The drag appears to be aluminium??? and the "peg" at the tip is copper.
The double edged sword blade appears to be a "local" forging, and is very sharp. There are no marks of any sort visible though the style seems to copy early European blades.
Judging by the length of the one piece strap, it could be designed to be worn over the shoulder. It does not hang properly if the strap is used as a belt, and there is no buckle.
Any ideas as to origin please.
Stu
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Old 20th June 2016, 12:33 PM   #2
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Hi Stu,

Your sword is probably Malinke / Mandingo / West Africa.
It's a short one, maybe from Cameroon, Tchad or Mali.
I think that your blade is older than you think.
The quality of the balde and the groves let me think that it's a 18/19th c. blade.
Do you have some signs of half moons stamps both sides or at the end of the grooves?

Best,
Kubur
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Old 20th June 2016, 08:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Stu,

Your sword is probably Malinke / Mandingo / West Africa.
It's a short one, maybe from Cameroon, Tchad or Mali.
I think that your blade is older than you think.
The quality of the balde and the groves let me think that it's a 18/19th c. blade.
Do you have some signs of half moons stamps both sides or at the end of the grooves?

Best,
Kubur

Hi Kubur,
As stated above, there are no visible marks on the blade.
Stu
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Old 20th June 2016, 10:57 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Agree with Kubur..
The mounts seem characteristic of Manding work from Mali in degree, but overall West African styling. The aluminum scabbard chape seems like regular modern work on most scabbards from Sudan to Saharan regions.

What is curious in the blockish pommel and leather wrap handle which resembles Omani kattara type weapons, mostly 20th c.

The blade seems European trade type of 19th c. which were of course found on kaskara but known as well on Sierra Leone swords of late 19th c. with cylindrical handles.

Interesting assembly.
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Old 21st June 2016, 09:15 PM   #5
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Thanks Gentlemen. Yes I agree sub Sahara, maybe Mali or Chad. The pommel top resembles those seen on other Taureg items and I agree the hilt style is very similar to those seen on Omani swords. The thing I like most about this is the leatherwork which is very nicely done IMHO. As has been said above, the blade could be an old European one.
Stu
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Old 23rd June 2016, 10:36 AM   #6
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I'd lean towards 20th century locally made blade myself, it's subtle but the fullers and profile of the blade don't strike me as one of the older European trade blades. Just an opinion though based on photos.
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Old 23rd June 2016, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
I'd lean towards 20th century locally made blade myself, it's subtle but the fullers and profile of the blade don't strike me as one of the older European trade blades. Just an opinion though based on photos.

I agree. As I stated in the original post, my feeling is locally forged. As to date again I agree likely 20th c sometime.
Stu
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Old 25th June 2016, 03:37 PM   #8
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Hi Stu.
As you know, I'm very much a novice when it comes to these blades. But I agree with you. The attractive feature is the scabbard and leather work. Looks like it took longer to make than the blade itself. Nice find.
Rick.
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Old 25th June 2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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Maybe it's time for me to introduce my Mandingo sword with a French blade end of 18th c.
As Professor Mc Douglas and I said your blade is probably older. Closer pictures would help.
Best,
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Old 25th June 2016, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Maybe it's time for me to introduce my Mandingo sword with a French blade end of 18th c.
As Professor Mc Douglas and I said your blade is probably older. Closer pictures would help.
Best,



'Professor McDouglas' !!! ???? Hey, I like that!!!
Very nice blade on your Manding sabre, indeed looks end of 18th French, with these type blades most common on these sabres.
On this West African sword in discussion, the grooves look remarkably uniform, and the reason I suggested 19th c. European is that in about that period there were a degree of 'blanks' out of Solingen into trade markets. At least that seems the case as the over inflated industrial sector struggled to keep up at end of Franco-Prussian war (1870).

The moons (dukari) were consistently on Hausa blades (masri) of the eastern Saharan into Sudanese regions. It seems that there were indeed 'kaskara' type blades on West African swords of Sierra Leone and others with cylindrical hilts, but hard to determine periods earlier than of course latter 19th c. These of course did not have the moons that were indicative of the 'masri' type blades (Rodd, 1928).
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Old 25th June 2016, 09:47 PM   #11
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Thanks KUBUR for posting pics of your Mandinka sword......very nice piece. So mine would appear NOT to be Mandinka, as the only "similar" feature I can see is the pommel top.
As far as the blade on mine is concerned ....yes the fullers are really straight and consistent, which is not IMHO seen on locally forged blades.
As Professor Jim has mentioned, large quantities of European and English blades were shipped to the Middle East and Africa, and were no doubt mounted locally. This blade could well me one of those, but there is NO marking of any sort visible.
Anyway I think we can safely say that it comes from the Sub Sahara somewhere, maybe modern day Mali/Chad.
Stu
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Old 26th June 2016, 02:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
'Professor McDouglas' !!! ???? Hey, I like that!!!


Sorry for the misspell, Mc Dougall.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 26th June 2016 at 05:47 PM. Reason: political stuff best avoided
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Old 26th June 2016, 05:12 PM   #13
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Oddly enough from the images the fullers are not inform to my eye and ground, not forged. All signs of later manufacture. But opinions will always differ.
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Old 26th June 2016, 05:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Sorry for the misspell, Mc Dougall.



No problem Kubur. You oughta here the mispronunciations I get!!!
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Old 26th June 2016, 06:09 PM   #15
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One thing about studying weapons, especially discussing them, is that in many cases views and perceptions can be revised as other data or observations will offer new and often better insights into the examination.

In the case of this blade, my initial observations suggested it may well be European, as it was without the familiar 'dukari' (moons) at terminus of outside grooves. The grooves did seem remarkably uniform, however, Iain, who has profoundly astute experience with these African blades, observes there are certain characteristics suggesting this may indeed be native made.

I think the regional attribution remains correct, as there is an overall and distinct similarity to the sabers of Mali, and the Manding people. I would note (as in my post #4) that there has been a long standing connection of course with Omani traders whose influences permeated these trade routes across the Sahara from the East African regions as far as Zanzibar.

In my view, these blockish pommels and the wrap rather than carved 'baluster' type handles are distinct indicators of such influence.
Are these not very much like those on Omani 'kattara' ?

The top image is of 'kattaras'
Second of a Manding sabre with European sabre blade
Third of course, native blade WITH the dukari

Again, these triple fuller blades occurred often on Sierra Leone swords used purportedly by slave traders with cylindrical hilts, these of course had no dukari and origin of blades unclear .
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Old 27th June 2016, 11:21 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
One thing about studying weapons, especially discussing them, is that in many cases views and perceptions can be revised as other data or observations will offer new and often better insights into the examination.

In the case of this blade, my initial observations suggested it may well be European, as it was without the familiar 'dukari' (moons) at terminus of outside grooves. The grooves did seem remarkably uniform, however, Iain, who has profoundly astute experience with these African blades, observes there are certain characteristics suggesting this may indeed be native made.

I think the regional attribution remains correct, as there is an overall and distinct similarity to the sabers of Mali, and the Manding people. I would note (as in my post #4) that there has been a long standing connection of course with Omani traders whose influences permeated these trade routes across the Sahara from the East African regions as far as Zanzibar.

In my view, these blockish pommels and the wrap rather than carved 'baluster' type handles are distinct indicators of such influence.
Are these not very much like those on Omani 'kattara' ?

The top image is of 'kattaras'
Second of a Manding sabre with European sabre blade
Third of course, native blade WITH the dukari

Again, these triple fuller blades occurred often on Sierra Leone swords used purportedly by slave traders with cylindrical hilts, these of course had no dukari and origin of blades unclear .



Hi Jim, just a small thing, the last image with the dukari is one of mine. The blade is I am 99.9% sure, European.
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Old 11th October 2016, 03:01 PM   #17
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I apologize for discovering this discussion so late. On the one hand I highly value experiences of Jim and Kubur, on the other hand I am confident, (maybe wrongly, but after seeing such blades "in situ") that the blade is relatively new - 20 century and very probably locally made....
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Old 11th October 2016, 03:04 PM   #18
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BTW Stu, could you show the picture of whole blade ? Sometimes also long moderm machetes were adjusted and changed into blades of such short swords
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