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Old 2nd May 2019, 04:55 AM   #1
shayde78
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Default A Lot of African Weapons

Happened to win these three items. They all seem to have some age, and seem to be legitimate examples (although I know that there a lot of modern Sudanese arm daggers out there, so I have the most doubts about that one). The Beja knife is of the form I once read on here was used to harvest forage for camels and horses (lashed to a pole).

The one I have a question about is what is possibly a Congolese/Kuba sword. Is this the correct designation? Any speculation about the age of each of these is always welcome. These did not come from the same seller, so even though I'm presenting them together, there is no linkage to the pieces as far as date of collection (other than entering my collection in 2019!).
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Old 2nd May 2019, 08:12 AM   #2
thinreadline
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The arm dagger isnt Sudanese , its a Tebu dagger from Chad / Niger or thereabouts
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Old 2nd May 2019, 11:53 AM   #3
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The hook-type blade is traditional Hadendawa khanjar from Eastern Sudan. Below is from p.41 of my Sword Makers of Kassala paper available of the EAA Geographical Index, Africa.
"Khanjar
The Khanjar (Figure 8a) is the traditional Hadendawa edged weapon used for personal defense. It was in use before Christianity and Islam came to the area. It was also the principal weapon (along with the Barb (spear) used by Othman Digna's forces in engagements with the British at Suakin during the period of the Mahdiya.
Local informants report that the Khanjar is depicted in Egyptian and Meroitic hieroglyphs and in rock paintings in the Butana. Burton confirms this with an illustration of a short sickle sword, the Khopsh, Kepsh or Khepshi as one of four Egyptian hieroglyphic characters which represent the word sword.
The shape of the Khanjar probably derived from the Khopsh type knife or a shorter version of a similar sickle bladed shotal from Abyssinia (see Tarakkuk 1982:25). But its hooked shape blade is in itself unique. The blade is about 14 inches long, including the hook, from 1 to 1-1/4 inches wide. It is of a flattened diamond in cross section and double edged. It is worn at the waist in a padded leather covered sheath attached to a six inch wide leather belt. The handle is of carved ebony and shaped like a fat hourglass. The handle may be gripped conventionally or held at the bottom by the first and second fingers of the hand on either side of the handle and clasped into a fist. The two fingered grip provides a more fluid slashing motion and facilitates the hook portion in reaching a mounted opponent's ankles and wrists. This method of Hadendawa warfare was particularly effective on British and Egyptian cavalry.
The term Khanjar is used to describe curved bladed daggers from India and Persia (Diagram Group 1980:30). Stone lists alternative spellings, including Konjar, Handschar and Kantschar, attributing the word to Arabic origin meaning knife or dagger (Ibid.:351f). The Khanjar is seldom seen in use today, but a Suq smith since 1937 remembered his past daily production as five in 1940, ten in 1960 and virtually none in 1980."

The knife is worn on a wide leather belt around the waist as shown in image.

Your knife has a nice rib that indicates special forging. Of my two, attached, one had a rare fuller while the other is more or less flat. All three handles are of the same design while would indicate they were made in the same place, i.e. likely in Kassala.

Regards,
Ed
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Old 20th March 2020, 01:01 AM   #4
shayde78
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Ed, although belated, I wish to say thank you this extensive amount of information on the one piece. Very, very interesting.
Cheers!
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Old 20th March 2020, 02:36 PM   #5
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Shayde,

You are very welcome. The Hadendawa khanjar is a very interesting weapon. I was surprised that the Kassala bladesmith said he made 10 of these knives /day in 1960 (s). That apparently was a modern peak. There were several government sponsored irrigation projects developing in Eastern Sudan at the time. They caused considerable social disruptions and relocations at the time as the projects disrupted traditional land rights and uses. No wonder people wanted to protect their personal and ethnic interests.

The leather belt shown is the only one I have seen other than in period photographs. Its condition suggests considerable age and may have been used during the Mahdiya era.

Regards,
Ed
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Old 8th April 2020, 09:20 AM   #6
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Default Zande war spears ?

Hi
The quiver and the other objects are different and more recent I think
only the 2 Zande war spear can be Mahdist period?

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Old 3rd June 2020, 04:24 PM   #7
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Hi,
the largest knife, the one in the center of the first photo, I think it is a very old and worn Congolese Konda (not Kuba).
Here you can see a similar one.

The main feature of many konda daggers was the lack of the tip, which was flat or, more often, rounded.
In this way the dagger remembered what had been established by a great ruler of the Kondas, who imposed to remove the tip from the swords of the warriors, to mean that the Konda federation was not afraid of being attacked by any of the neighboring peoples.
What seems strange to me, in your dagger, is the handle, which is different from the usual.
Regards.
Duccio
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Old 11th July 2020, 02:05 AM   #8
shayde78
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Duccio,

Apologies! I missed your comment. Very interesting information, and much appreciated. I had never heard that explanation for why these siding have a sharp point. Frankly, I had assumed it allowed for a more utilitarian purpose - to allow for a digging tool. Any good survivalist knows that having a sturdy digging stick it's a useful bit of kit. Like the more modern Woodman's Pal, I thought this might have served the same purpose for a useful jungle knife.

As for the dagger handle, what makes it unique?

Last edited by shayde78 : 11th July 2020 at 02:06 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 12th July 2020, 02:41 PM   #9
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No problem, I'm glad to share the few knowledge I have.
I am attaching here some images of Konda swords, from which you can see the classic shape of the handle.
The dagger in your possession has a hilt that resembles some of the Mangbetu "trumbash" (see photos below).
This would be strange, there is no relationship between the two ethnic groups ...
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