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Old 6th January 2011, 02:55 AM   #1
DaveS
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Default Kaskara from Darfur

here it is
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Old 6th January 2011, 03:02 AM   #2
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Disregard, couldn't get pictures to go through........Dave
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Old 6th January 2011, 05:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS
here it is
Hi
interesting 20th Century Kaskara sword from Sudan, BUT ...
nicer if you might provide us with a pic for the whole sword TKS

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Old 12th January 2011, 02:12 AM   #4
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Photos from DaveS.
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Old 12th January 2011, 03:43 AM   #5
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A nice piece. I love these with silver hilts. What adds even more to this is the Arabic along the blade (instead of the usual European script).
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Old 12th January 2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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Very nice kaskara....
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Old 13th January 2011, 03:12 AM   #7
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I need a translation, if possible............Dave.
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Old 13th January 2011, 10:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS
I need a translation, if possible............Dave.
YES ... if possible
my sweet translator has a print out of the pic, and she's facing some difficulties
- hand engraving (not too good) in old arabic
- short part of a poem
- here in France, we don't have a computer with Arabic system, the search is much more complicated
- might be our answer 'll be doubtful, unfortunatly

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Old 13th January 2011, 01:30 PM   #9
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Hi Dave,
congrats....nice Kaskara. Are there any makers marks near the hilt ? The diamond patterning is similar to one of mine.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=kaskara

Kind Regards David
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Old 13th January 2011, 08:53 PM   #10
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Hi David: No, unfortunately there are no makers marks or any other marks of
any kind except the script. The blade is 35 inches long with a single wide
fuller extending the full length to the tip. The blade is also very flexible. Even
though there are no makers marks i believe it to probably be German made,
based on the quality of the blade. I have nothing to base this on other than
a hunch.
We bought this sword over twenty years ago. The scabbard is of the
highest quality that one usually sees with this type of handle and blade, but
unfortunately the main carry strap is in bad shape. The main reason that we
trying to get a translation is because an arab historian that we took this sword to told us that one side translated to being the geneolgy of Ali Dinar.
At the time, this meant nothing to us, but now knowing a little bit of the
history of the area it is much more meaningfull. The other side of the blade
he was not able to translate but since then another person said that it
reads as follows "WHEN THEY RIDE ON THE BACKS OF THEIR HORSES THEY
ARE EXTREMELY DETERMINED AND COURAGES".
This Historian then offered us a large amount of money for the sword,
which basically blew us away. I don't know if this is an Ali Dinar sword or
not. I think you people here might have some insight in helping us identify
more about this sword...........Dave and Lonna.
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Old 14th January 2011, 12:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS
Hi David:
......... The main reason that we
trying to get a translation is because an arab historian that we took this sword to told us that one side translated to being the geneolgy of Ali Dinar.
At the time, this meant nothing to us, but now knowing a little bit of the
history of the area it is much more meaningfull. The other side of the blade
he was not able to translate but since then another person said that it
reads as follows "WHEN THEY RIDE ON THE BACKS OF THEIR HORSES THEY
ARE EXTREMELY DETERMINED AND COURAGES".
This Historian then offered us a large amount of money for the sword,
which basically blew us away. I don't know if this is an Ali Dinar sword or
not. I think you people here might have some insight in helping us identify
more about this sword...........Dave and Lonna.


Hi Dave and Lonna,
the possible Ali Dinar association with this sword would indeed be great news. The diamond design seems unusual on Kaskara hilts. With the provenanced sword at Durham University (in the linked thread) having the diamond motif. Yours, with the diamond patterning and hopefully, a genuine engraving attributable to Ali Dinar' family ....makes mine even more likely to be from the court of Ali Dinar ....or family.

Hopefully, more research/information on this 'diamond design' may help to 'cement' this association.

Kind Regards David
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Old 14th January 2011, 02:56 AM   #12
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David: Yes, it would be great if we could finally attribute this kaskara to
Ali Dinar. We have at least three more silver-hilted kaskaras that we hope-
fully will be able to post in the future. Two of the three have european
blades that are layered damascus. Another kaskara has one end of it,s
crossguard engraved backwards "Ali" with a date of i think 1896 though i'm
not sure of the exact date. It was used to seal important documents with
sealing wax..........Dave
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Old 14th January 2011, 04:23 AM   #13
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This is indeed a kaskara from Darfur, and likely of the period of Ali Dinar (Ali Dinar Zakariyya Muhammed al Fadl, 1856-1916). Actually the kaskaras with this hilt form with discoid pommel with filagree edges, domed pommel cap and silver repousse grip with 'harlequin' or diamond pattern motif are quite well established during Ali Dinars reign (1898-1916) and described as such in "Kaskara From Northern Darfur, Sudan" (Graham Reed, JAAS, Vol.XII, #3, March, 1987).

Ali Dinar was of the Keira Dynasty of rulers, and of Tama descent, with that monarchy suspended after the Egyptian conquest in 1874. After the Mahdists defeat at Omdurman in 1898, a de facto state was formed in Darfur with him as the Sultan, and the British appointed him agent for them. Ali Dinar was however of the Senussi Brotherhood, who was powerfully in league with the Ottomans and Germans and Turkish governors in Benghazi. As WWI came in 1914, the intrigue with Senussi following and the German alliance with the Ottomans naturally led eventually to Ali Dinar being declared outlaw as he led insurgencies against the British.
A British punitive expedition was mounted, with Ali Dinar being killed near Jebel Mara in Central Darfur October 7th, 1916. The only known photograph of Ali Dinar was at his death (attached).

I did research on one of these kaskara attributed also to having come from the armoury of Ali Dinar about 11 years ago. It was of course of the distinct form, the characteristic X on the crossguard, flared quillons, harlequin repousse grip and filagree discoid pommel. There was the usual puff type festoon attached around the pommel base.

In "Introduction to Islamic Arms" by Anthony North, p.30 (fig. 23 B) there is a kaskara attributed to Ali Dinar, which has gold grip in this pattern and the blade is heirloom believed of 18th c. This is also believed to be one of three possible swords which may have been his, and probably the one listed as Victoria & Albert Museum. In checking with Mr. North, he stated the sword was with its owner in Malaysia at that point.

Another of Dinars swords is said to be Royal Armouries Inv. XXVI.112S, and I do not have further notes on that.
The other is at the British Museum (#1932, 10-14.1) but is believed captured at Omdurman and of the Ali Dinar 'style'.

I interviewed a man who was a Fur, and now in the U.S. and actually knew one of Ali Dinars grandsons, but as Dinar had 120 sons, the grandson had little information to add to the research when I spoke to him by phone.

Returning to the Darfur kaskara at hand, the etched devotional panel on the blade is most interesting and it will be great to hear more on translation. I believe the blade on this may more likely be of Italian origin as many of these Darfur blades seem to have been (Reed, fig. L1 notes a possible Italian orig.). This would seem quite likely as the Senussi contacts in the branches in Libya would have had considerable contact with Italian trade with the occupying forces there.

In my opinion, these type kaskaras were widely produced in this period, but in this quality it is of course supposed that these would have been for prominant tribal leaders and chiefs (Omda). It would be presumed that many of these weapons would have carried inscriptions pertaining to Ali Dinar, and would not necessarily be his weapons, but associated with him and his forces. Regardless, these kaskaras are in my opinion the most desirable, especially when they can be attributed to this form and of the period.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 14th January 2011, 01:47 PM   #14
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Hi Jim ,

Glad you added to this thread. You mentioned "....'harlequin' or diamond pattern motif are quite well established during Ali Dinars reign (1898-1916) and described as such in "Kaskara From Northern Darfur, Sudan" (Graham Reed, JAAS, Vol.XII, #3, March, 1987)...."

Is there any indication that the diamond pattern was exclusively used during Ali Dinar's reign....or perhaps, evidence of the source or symbolism of the design ?

Kind Regards David
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Old 14th January 2011, 04:04 PM   #15
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Default Kaskara from Darfur

Hi David, thank you very much for responding! Very much appreciated.
That is a very good question, and unfortunately as with most works on weaponry, symbolism may be noted in observation, but seldom are there any further details on the meanings or possible origins of these features.
That is left to those of us who research

In the article Reed notes, " ...regarding date, all that can be said is that the decoration and quillon shapes are consistant with swords of the highest quality, made for, and in the time of Ali Dinar (1899-1916)".
It is further noted in reference to another blade in the article, that it came from 'before the time of Kasalla'. Apparantly many of these swords were fashioned in that city, which in more recent times has continued making of swords and weapons (see the brilliant article presented by Ed Hunley in our archived material). With that being the case these kaskaras were then known as 'sa'if Kasallawi' , and as noted many times through the years....these have never been termed kaskaras in either Darfur or the Sudan, only sa'if.

Since the swords described in Reed's article were apparantly of this style and motif from Dinar's time, and in many cases even being refurbished carrying forth these traditional characteristics, it would seem that the features must have been adopted following key symbolism of those times. Since there seems to be a certain degree of variation, though with essentially the same leitmotif, perhaps these geometrics and symbols may have connections to the Senussi following. Another key feature which seems consistant on these Darfur hilts is the distinct X on the crossguard center.

I would say that the features of these hilts became popular in the time of Ali Dinar, and may have developed from embellished forms of decoration or symbolism already in the regions at the time. It should be noted that there are many examples of Darfur associated kaskara which are much more of simple form without the repousse silver grips etc, often simple wood disc pommels. Also, the diamond shape in the repousse work may occur in the crosswork pattern as in this example, as well as in the 'harlequin' pattern, which is a vertical linear pattern of diamond shapes.

Hopefully there will be other responses here, though the ambiguous title is not likely to draw the attention of kaskara enthusiasts. In any case, as always, research continues

All the best, and thank you again David,
Jim
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Old 15th January 2011, 04:16 PM   #16
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I thought it would be interesting to add this thread to the discussion as the blade on my example was also translated to Sultan Ali Dinar.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12979
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Old 15th January 2011, 04:33 PM   #17
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That's probably the most elegant looking kaskara I have ever seen. The LOVE the guard.

Rick's sword is far better to see in person that the pics indicate. Still hoping he will leave it here on his next visit!
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Old 15th January 2011, 06:03 PM   #18
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Hi Jim,
thank you for the further details . Been trying to find more information on the diamond motif...but so far have 'struck out' .


Hi Rick,
how on earth did I miss the thread you posted ...... I know I've been busy ...but .

Interesting sword ....again a sword seemingly associated with Ali Dinar .............with a diamond motif on the blade ?

Kind Regards David


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Old 15th January 2011, 07:13 PM   #19
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Im with you David...how the heck did I miss this one!!!!!?????
That is phenomenal Rick, you are one amazing connoisseur (I love trying to spell that word !!!

Incidentally, David, the source on those diamond pattern motif is the one I noted published by Graham Reed in 1987. Ironically, it seems that our own Ed Hunley preempted Mr. Reeds visit to Kassala by three years! as shown in his outstanding treatise (1984)which appears on our site.

Actually that triangular blade form in a shorter sword version as seen here, in my experience has been attributed to Dongola regions in upper Sudan. As always, the inscription is key of course, and these sumptuous mounts are atypical to the hilts I have usually seen on these blades.

When the Anglo-Egyptian government took over in the Sudan in 1899, and Ali Dinar was recognized as the sultan of Darfur, the dar was very much left to its own affairs, but was expected to pay a nominal annual tribute to that government.

The outstanding quality of this sword and the potentially revealing inscription on the blade may indicate this was some sort of diplomatic gift to the sultan during his reign and associated with relations as noted. The incongruent nature of the mounts do suggest some cross cultural custom work, and the Chadic possibilities are well placed. It should also be noted that the Teda which are a Toubou tribal group in N. Chad (as well as Niger and Nigeria) also were well situated in Libya. As mentioned earlier, considerable Senussi (which Ali Dinar was profoundly an adherent) presence was situated in Libya.

While unclear how these elements might account for this somewhat hybrid sword, they seemed worthy of note.

All best regards,
Jim

PS Charles, that kaskara you had several years ago in Baltimore and I suggested the blade was Italian, do you still have it? I believe that too was a Darfur sword, and while not with inscriptions, I think might be supportive of Italian origins the blades on many of these Darfur swords.
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Old 16th January 2011, 06:46 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS
I need a translation, if possible............Dave.
at least ... here we are
we got it

sorry for delay, but we found who wrote that poem, and we offer you not a translation, because ... how to translate a poetic spirit ... ?? ....
but what could be the sense of the verses
"the seat of the rider on the back of his horse is stable,
without regard to the fury and cries of his enemies,
and he did not need to be fastened"


the writter; El Iman Al Busiri,
born 620 Hegir,
he is accepted to be an Egyptian from Upper Egypt with Berber origins (Morocco),
he was in charge for a mosquee (title of "Iman")

ref according with: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qa%E1%...4%ABda_al-Burda

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Old 16th January 2011, 08:07 PM   #21
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Attached is a photo of a sword stylistically similiar, but not of the quality of Daves. I believe the blade is European due to the makes mark barely ledgable. I have a photo of another example given to a Mr. Shangiti (a famous schalor and jurist) and that is a close cousin to the Daves with similiar tassel and diamond motif grip. in a library dedicated to him at the University of Kartoum. There are six swords in the "Shangiti Collection" in his library in 1884. Sorry I don't currently have access to these photographs to illustrate.

The diamond motif of Daves sword is said to have originated at Atbara on the Nile below Khartoum. The Nile Arabised tribes were the most sophisticated and prosperious and were at odds to the Mahdi and the Khalifa who were from the western provinces.

My guess on Daves sword is that it was produced and decorated at Atbara as a presentational piece. It may have in fact been gifted to Ali Dinar, but I don't think it originated in Darfur.

Best regards,
Ed
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Old 17th January 2011, 01:28 AM   #22
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Dom: Thank you very much for that translation. It does differ slightly from
what we were told originally, but the gist of the meaning was similar. Has
anyone had any luck with the other inscription........Dave.
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Old 18th January 2011, 01:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveS
anyone had any luck with the other inscription........Dave.

not a genealogy as I read it, just his name according with Arabic I.D. record
name (Mohamed al Fadl) + father name (Zakaria) + Grand-father name (Ali Dinar)
this way of recording the people is still yet applicable in almost of Middle-East countries, indeed Egypt or Sudan

the obverse of the poem gives
the Sultan Ali Dinar son of Sultan Zakaria son of Sultan Mohamed al-Fadl

the second pic,
1st lign, beginning word unknown, then
Sultan Ali Dinar
2nd lign
the Sultan son of the Sultan Zakariya

Darfur


[Darfur Sultanate flag to 1916]

Sultans

1603 - 1637 Suleiman Solong
1637 - 1682 Musa ibn Suleiman
1682 - 1722 Ahmad Bakr ibn Musa
1722 - 1732 Muhammad I Dawra
1732 - 1739 Umar Lele
1739 - 1756 Abul Kasim
1756 - 1785 Muhammad II Tairab
1785 - 1799 `Abd ar-Rahman ar-Rashid
1799 - 1839 Muhammad III al-Fadl
1839 - Apr 1873 Muhammad IV al-Husayn
1839 - 1843 Muhammad Abu Madyan (in rebellion)
21 Apr 1873 - 23 Oct 1874 Ibrahim Qarad Koyko
1874 - Hasab Allah
1874 - 1875 Sayf ad-Din Bush
1877 - 1880 Sayf ad-Din Muhammad Harun ar-Rashid
1880 - 1887 `Abd Allah Dud Banja
1887 - 14 Feb 1888 Yusuf
1888 - 1898 Abul Khayrat
1891 - 1908 Sanin al-Husayn (in rebellion)

Emir
21 Mar 1899 - 22 May 1916 `Ali Dinar ibn Zakariyya (b. c.1865 - d. 1916)

************************************

see also this link
http://www.sothebys.com/app/live/lo...jsp?lot_id=PXT2
the matter is .... sale for "A silver-mounted sword of Sultan Ali Dinar"
[group of swords, numbering less than ten recorded examples, which were made for the Sultan himself.
They have been described as 'the last truly distinctive commissions of Islamic edged weapons' (Paris 1988, p.147)]

question ... ??? yours, ist's one of the tenth ???

Sudanese warrior from that period


+

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Old 18th January 2011, 02:22 AM   #24
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Dom: Again, thank you very much for your work in translating these inscrip-
tions. I wonder if there would be any information in any books on Islamic
arms regarding the two pieces of chain mail on the tassels. The man that
did the first translations had said that these represented to recent births
in the owners family. There's never been anything iv'e ever read that refers
to a practice like this. Has anyone ever heard of this..........Dave.
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Old 18th January 2011, 03:02 AM   #25
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This is becoming a most interesting thread and thank you Dom for the translation assistance. I also appreciate the kind words from Jim and Gene. I was definitely surprised in my other thread when you guys didn't jump in! Hey, better late than never.

Dom, here are some pictures that are much clearer that I am hoping you can translate in full detail and I have also included an inscription from the handle that I hope you can make out.

It would be great to add these two swords to the reference material as possible swords of Sultan Ali Dinar.
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Old 18th January 2011, 01:51 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
Dom, here are some pictures that are much clearer that I am hoping you can translate in full detail
Yeessss
and will be a good (a very good) news
just time to translate the Quran verses, and you will get it
Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
and I have also included an inscription from the handle that I hope you can make out.
might you clarify a point, pls
- which handle ?? spear ? sword ?
because we reach a translation,
but not sure that it's matching with the concerned item,
specially, if we don't have idea about it

+

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Old 18th January 2011, 03:01 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dom
Yeessss
and will be a good (a very good) news
just time to translate the Quran verses, and you will get it
might you clarify a point, pls
- which handle ?? spear ? sword ?
because we reach a translation,
but not sure that it's matching with the concerned item,
specially, if we don't have idea about it

+

Dom


Hi Dom,

Thank you for the translation assistance. All the pictures I provided in this thread are of the sword that was discussed in this thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12979

The last picture I show is of the leather portion of the handle of this sword.

Thank you.
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Old 18th January 2011, 10:18 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RSWORD
Hi Dom,

Thank you for the translation assistance. All the pictures I provided in this thread are of the sword that was discussed in this thread

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12979

The last picture I show is of the leather portion of the handle of this sword.

Thank you.
sorry, I zap completely your first request
and I'm discovering some very interesting posts, in fact I just completed what has been told, or wrote
**********************
here good news (but in fact you know it already, our Koweity friend translated correctly)
the unknown word for me, is in fact
MALK either in English OWNER or OWNED BY
in the very likely case that the mention is original, your sword is clearly identified "mabrouk" as we said in Arabic
**********************
concerning the mentions religious, here the transcription
NASR ALLAH MIN WA FATH QARIB either BY THE GRACE OF GOD, VICTORY IS NEAR

WA BACHIR AL MOUMININE YA MOHAMED BELGANA either (God requested to) MOHAMED (to annonce) THE BELIEVERS BE GLADDEN, THEY WILL GO TO PARADISE
**********************
now, what is a question mark for us ... the mention on the handle leather
ROMH either JAVELIN
**********************
end of the exercise

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Old 22nd January 2011, 11:46 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi Dave and Lonna,
the possible Ali Dinar association with this sword would indeed be great news. The diamond design seems unusual on Kaskara hilts. With the provenanced sword at Durham University (in the linked thread) having the diamond motif. Yours, with the diamond patterning and hopefully, a genuine engraving attributable to Ali Dinar' family ....makes mine even more likely to be from the court of Ali Dinar ....or family.

Hopefully, more research/information on this 'diamond design' may help to 'cement' this association.

Kind Regards David


Hi David,

Did you get any further with Durham? I should add that their Ali Dinar kaskara is probably the best provenenanced, in that it was donated by the alumnus who shot him (or more realistically, oversaw his shooting)...
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Old 23rd January 2011, 04:25 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
That's probably the most elegant looking kaskara I have ever seen. The LOVE the guard.

Rick's sword is far better to see in person that the pics indicate. Still hoping he will leave it here on his next visit!

yes it really is attractive.
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