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Old 22nd January 2019, 07:34 PM   #31
TVV
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Though fuzzy the label does indeed seem to state that the sword is from Morocco with an English blade, which is the first actual evidence we have that these may be from Africa. The decoration does not look Moroccan. Maybe we can compare these to Mauritanian daggers for better comparison in decoration, assuming these are from Southern Morocco/Western Sahara.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 08:10 PM   #32
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While Kubur is right, there were indeed early commercial contacts with England, and I have seen Moroccan sa'if s with ANDREA FERARA blades and we have seen later blades by MOLE deeper into the interior.

However as Teodor has noted, the motif and design of hits (the determinate factor as blades were diffused all over) is indeed 'Spanish' and not Moroccan. What is intriguing is the familiar hand 'nock' as seen on Moroccan sa'if.

My thoughts are that these forms, 'Berber' and guanabacoa (Cubano etc) are best regarded as 'Spanish Main' forms (thus Spanish colonial), and hilted in shops in these ports and entrepots in Central to South America as well as Cuba. .....which traveled as far as Philippines (as per findings in past discussions).

As I have mentioned, my example has a distinctly English blade (M1796 light cavalry) as I have an original M1796 and put together, the blades are an exact match (as Wayne showed in earlier discussion). Mine has been reprofiled but the fullers match exactly.

My example of the Brazilian espada with striated shell guard (as previously noted) has a British blade by Isaac & Co. (marked on blade back as with British convention in 19th c.).

My 'Berber' is also marked with MANUE(L) at the forte transversely as seen on other blades in these sabres with M1796 blades. Some can be read as MANUEL DE ……..rest obscured. This does NOT mean Morocco, but clearly an importer in the Spanish colonies in either Cuba or some other entrepot in these regions of Spanish colonization.

There were MANY surplus British M1796 blades in Spain after the Peninsular campaigns, and as well known many British blades were coming into both Portugal and Spain. As these campaigns ended, new patterns of sword were being developed in England for cavalry, so these stores of 'surplus' were either left, or sold off as required.
So YES...….plenty of British blades were out there, but I think these which came to Morocco were already mounted in Spanish hilts.

With other areas of the Sahara, it was much the same from Mali to Algeria and parts of Morocco to the French...….these French blades were common on many West African and Saharan swords. The troops cavalierly traded them off much as these Spanish troops in Moroccan regions did.

There is no doubt that many of these forms were 'found' in North African contexts, particularly Spanish Morocco...……..but the idea they were 'produced' there I do not agree with. I recall when I first began researching these about 21 yrs ago, and working with Pierce Chamberlain ("Spanish Military Weapons in Colonial America" 1972) he admitted he had no idea on these forms, but over time contacted other sources. It was then that he wrote me when finding many of these in Cuban context. I had found the 'Berber' forms in Mexican collections, and we even found examples with clear Philippine or Indonesian mofif. Some of these had Filipino inscriptions from insurrection events there.

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 22nd January 2019 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 22nd January 2019, 08:56 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
Though fuzzy the label does indeed seem to state that the sword is from Morocco with an English blade, which is the first actual evidence we have that these may be from Africa. The decoration does not look Moroccan. Maybe we can compare these to Mauritanian daggers for better comparison in decoration, assuming these are from Southern Morocco/Western Sahara.


Yes precisely Sahara occidental, the Spanish part
and the sword that i posted yesterday is decorated like the Mukhala from the Agadir region...
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Old 22nd January 2019, 09:51 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Yes precisely Sahara occidental, the Spanish part
and the sword that i posted yesterday is decorated like the Mukhala from the Agadir region...



Hi Kubur

You clearly know Morocco well, and Western Sahara certainly did receive its share of the Spanish arms and blades we are talking about. It very likely was an entrepot in which these blades might have been produced (hilted) with the local 'embellishments'. This one seems beautifully done in silver with that red stone (I dare not guess what it is) and a well done copy of these 'Cuban' swords. It does seem that often in such places, such 'other ranks' swords and otherwise 'common' swords were sometimes commissioned from artisans for ceremonial wear.


Such 'upgraded' weapons fashioned in 'the manner of' the arms well known were often commissioned it seems in this way by either officers or perhaps dignitaries and possibly in diplomatic cases. Such instances are evident in Egypt during the Condominium, Aden in Arabia, various stations in India etc.


The one you posted is surely an anomaly and I can only guess (as above) at the circumstances. Whatever the case, it sure makes the one I have and most I have seen pretty much 'ugly ducklings'!!
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Old 23rd January 2019, 10:21 AM   #35
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Hi Jim, thank you for your kind words as always.
I do not think that is an anomaly, I've seen other swords from collectors and for sure from Morocco...
Now again I'm fully convinced by the other members, Fernando, Teodor and you that they are Spanish "colonial" swords "tropical machetes". But on their way to America it seems that they have been adopted in Morocco.
I think that you have a good point by saying that it's post Buttin collection.
But even if Buttin was a specialist of Morocco he didn't have a full range of North African swords, for example no Tunisian Berber sword...


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Old 23rd January 2019, 04:02 PM   #36
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They are sincerely meant Kubur, you make insightful observations and always prompt more careful consideration in talking points in discussion. While you are more receptive to these groups of swords being from Spanish colonies in the America's...………..I have thought more on your example and think you must be correct, these may have been reproduced in degree in Morocco. The volume of their presence there may well have prompted these more ostentatious forms with silver and well embellished.

In retrospect, over the years I have seen other examples like the one you have shown in similar dress, but none I recall were jeweled. In these North African settings it does seem well established that various sword forms prompted a certain degree of reproduction if nothing but for their familiarity. Your example is a superb instance, especially in that it carries one of the blades from the Spanish colonial regions.

Rather than being 'commissioned' as I suggested, I would take more to your suggestion of these being hilted or produced in some degree in these Moroccan regions in perhaps an intent for sale. Either to local figures as status oriented accoutrements, or perhaps souvenirs, often these instances of course transcend, as locals often sell their weapons to visitors on request.
This presents an element of context to the purchaser, rather than buying it in a souk.....but naturally both venues are present.

In reconsidering the Buttin work I previously had not thought of the period of the catalog, and indeed, those curious Tunisian swords which have been observed consistently in recent years appear seem to have been quite distinctly oriented from those regions, and are not represented in his catalogs. His period of study while residing in Morocco lasted many years, however this was some time before his catalogs were published by his son posthumously in 1933. As these, and the Spanish colonial swords in discussion seem to occur later in these regions, they were probably not included in his holdings while active.


Thank you for these most constructive and helpful responses Kubur, I think we are getting much more perspective on these interesting weapons.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 07:15 PM   #37
fernando
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May we therefore tag the Machete Cubano as a most heterogeneous species ?
Starting by the particularity that Calvó always addresses its Cubano attribution between " ".
We have as origin of this discussion, Mahratt's first posted example with a Solingen (Beckman?) blade, then the actual models assigned to Cuban forces, then the 'Morocconized' decorated versions in Montjuic, not to forget the 'Berberized' possibility, the cherry on the cake would be the Collins (Hartford) version, stamped in Spanish and equipped with a shell guard, as pictured in 1895 in the hands of Cuban Army Officers.

.
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Old 24th January 2019, 11:04 AM   #38
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Lightbulb Breaking news ...

Go figure ...

The following is an email received from my acquainted Señor Juan L. Calvó:

Estimado Señor Viana,
Celebro tener noticias suyas. Los machetes de su interés, tengo entendido son dominicanos, propios de la etnia de la Isla de Santo Domingo. Esto me fue informado con posterioridad a la clausura del Museo, por lo que en su ficha me limite a anotar el origen apuntado por el coleccionista que cedió estas piezas,
Reciba un afectuoso saludo
Juan L. Calvó


Which in a rough translation we can read:

Those machetes in which you show interest are, as i have understood, ethnically Dominican, from the Santo Domingo island. This was informed after the museum closure, for i simply made note of such origin in their records, after being enlightened by the collector who has ceded these pieces (to the museum).

I realize this later information would have taken place during conversations had with the owning collector, when the Barcelona municipality decided to close the museum (2009) and requested them to withdraw their property.

Time we compare those examples from Barcelona examples to the one originally posted by Mahratt ... just saying .


.
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Old 24th January 2019, 03:13 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Go figure ...

The following is an email received from my acquainted Señor Juan L. Calvó:

Estimado Señor Viana,
Celebro tener noticias suyas. Los machetes de su interés, tengo entendido son dominicanos, propios de la etnia de la Isla de Santo Domingo. Esto me fue informado con posterioridad a la clausura del Museo, por lo que en su ficha me limite a anotar el origen apuntado por el coleccionista que cedió estas piezas,
Reciba un afectuoso saludo
Juan L. Calvó


Which in a rough translation we can read:

Those machetes in which you show interest are, as i have understood, ethnically Dominican, from the Santo Domingo island. This was informed after the museum closure, for i simply made note of such origin in their records, after being enlightened by the collector who has ceded these pieces (to the museum).

I realize this later information would have taken place during conversations had with the owning collector, when the Barcelona municipality decided to close the museum (2009) and requested them to withdraw their property.

Time we compare those examples from Barcelona examples to the one originally posted by Mahratt ... just saying .


.



Well said Fernando, and the synopsis in your previous post was a perfectly orchestrated example of how complex the classification of ethnographic forms can be!
I think what we can take from the discussion exercise in this case is that these particular forms of machete/guanabacoa types seem to have developed at an uncertain location in the Spanish colonies sometime probably earlier to mid 19th c.

Obviously with the trade and other commerce in these regions and with the maritime routes throughout as a conduit, there was considerable diffusion of these forms. Therefore the futility of trying to assign a certain classification to them is made difficult by this.


I have thought for some time (again it has been two decades or more that these have been studied) that these are perhaps best broadly classified as Spanish colonial swords often in use as machetes.


Any regionally oriented assessment to specific examples of these may be best assessed and described by locally distinct 'dress or decoration' and key inscriptions or blade motif which obviously denote areas and/or period.


Clearly there are examples with Dominican inscriptions......so these illustrate presence there; similarly there are examples in Philippines so again.......and so on. I think Senor Calvo's paper is superb, and well illustrated.


Fernando's point is well made, and I think the discussion going forward will be well served by further examples and any notes on provenance when possible without focus on debating what to call them. The 'Berber' term is yet another example of collectors terms which we have come to use for colloquial uniformity for discussion and reference.
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Old 24th January 2019, 11:16 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Go figure ...

The following is an email received from my acquainted Señor Juan L. Calvó:

Estimado Señor Viana,
Celebro tener noticias suyas. Los machetes de su interés, tengo entendido son dominicanos, propios de la etnia de la Isla de Santo Domingo. Esto me fue informado con posterioridad a la clausura del Museo, por lo que en su ficha me limite a anotar el origen apuntado por el coleccionista que cedió estas piezas,
Reciba un afectuoso saludo
Juan L. Calvó


Which in a rough translation we can read:

Those machetes in which you show interest are, as i have understood, ethnically Dominican, from the Santo Domingo island. This was informed after the museum closure, for i simply made note of such origin in their records, after being enlightened by the collector who has ceded these pieces (to the museum).

I realize this later information would have taken place during conversations had with the owning collector, when the Barcelona municipality decided to close the museum (2009) and requested them to withdraw their property.

Time we compare those examples from Barcelona examples to the one originally posted by Mahratt ... just saying .


.


Thank you Fernando,

So now the Montjuic examples have been confirmed to be Dominican as well. Personally, based on the factual evidence we have, for me these swords are Dominican. Others can make their own conclusions, my goal is to find what I believe is true for myself, not convince anyone in anything.

Kubur,

I see a nice silver hilted machete with a red stone. I am not sure I see clear parallels with North African rifle decoration, but am willing to look at a side by side comparison. Complex decorative motives are usually a better indicator than material used, and I do not see any particular decorative motif that can provide a good clue as to where the silver decoration was applied.

Regards,
Teodor
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