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Old 27th March 2024, 06:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2024
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Default Help ID'ing African Dagger

I picked up this dagger in Niamey, Niger but have not been able to attribute it to any culture or region. ID insights greatly appreciated!

I hate to ask, but is it possible this is a tourist knife?

Thank you for the help!
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Old 28th March 2024, 01:06 AM   #2
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Hello Ronvethe,

I've seen similar inlays in wooden handle parts from knives which are attributed to North African people like the Tuareg, see for example here:
To buy a knife in the biggest city of the Niger don't mean that it's a tourist knife, on the other hand it looks very recent/unused and it was sold to a "tourist" or visitor. I can't answer if it was purely made to get sold to you or it could get used in a much more rual area also I just don't know, you should know more, where you have acquired it, from whom, which story you were told....
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Old 28th March 2024, 07:26 AM   #3
Martin Lubojacky
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Welcome to the forum ronvethe,
The decoration on the handle is even more reminiscent of regions further west than Niamey.
However: I bought a dagger with an almost identically decorated blade and, interestingly, an almost identical scabbard in Libya once, but I was told it was also from Niger (specifically made by the Ifoghas, but that was said of anything from the southern Sahara at the time).
Generally: Time has not stopped, knifemakers work in Africa as elsewhere in the world and produce for local consumption (not just for tourists). In my opinion, in this case, in the case of modern (or modern and utility) productsit is no longer necessary to talk about any tribes and ethnic groups, but maybe just the knifemakers e.g. of Niamey or other manufacturing sites....
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Old 6th April 2024, 04:05 PM   #4
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Thank you both! The scabbard was very similar to other leather goods I'd seen in West Africa, so I figured the dagger had to be from the region. The linked dagger was quite interesting, too, as there are some Tuareg artisans in Tahoua, Niger.

I am just beginning to learn about and collect daggers from North and West Africa - so advice on maintenance or preservation is always welcome!
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africa, dagger, identification, niger

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