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Old 9th January 2016, 02:25 AM   #1
Marcus
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Default Where in Africa

This just in from e-bay. The leather lacing decays as I handle it and the Cowries are coming loose. There probably were many more originally can anyone help me place its origin?
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Old 9th January 2016, 04:50 PM   #2
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I don't know what that is on the handle (looks like raw hide, but from what I couldn't say). And on the sheath...could be young (like hatchling or yearling) crocodile skin. Stretched and really dried out. But I could see it being that. Just my opinion though (I ain't one of those old dog NAFHA guys who can sometimes tell you species and even locality based off a small sample).

Now as for care. I would snip the lace and pull the lace off with small pair of scissors and tweezers (don't just tug and snap it off just because it's brittle, you can snag on a possibly still tough part and rip the skin). Then soak the skin in a 1:2 ratio of Glycerine and Water. You can re-lace it once it's been re-hydrated with Calf Lace and some lacing needles. It's a simple cross stitch (if at all confused about how to there are plenty of easy to follow leather lacing tutorial vids on youtube).

If you look around online enough, it shouldn't cost you more then $30 for smaller roll of calf/leather lace in the right color, the needles, and a several ounce bottle of Glycerine. But you'll end up with a lot more left over then you need for the one project if you choose to go the preservation route.
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Old 13th January 2016, 08:22 PM   #3
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Default From a friend who spent many years in Africa

"This dagger is Central - West African,
From the hilt it looks like its from the Goran or the Tubu of eastern Niger, central to north Western Chad.
It has the Toubu markings on the blade, The cowery shells (a relic of West African currency prior to the 1930s) is decorative, but places it more west than central Africa. The scabbard it interesting because it has both regular cured leather and iguana, or snake skin. I think it is igana or some kind of lizard. Places it again more in the West Africa.
But the hilt is not typically Fula. More Toubo or one of the desert tribes. it looks nicely weathered, and maybe restiched at a later date. the stitching is likely leather made from the intestines of a goat, or sheep. Its a working mans dagger. It is not Tuareg. Its not Sar, its looks Toubu."
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Old 14th January 2016, 01:50 AM   #4
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Iguanas are from the Americas. Mostly South America, but there are two species as far north as Southern California (the Desert Iguana and the Chuckwalla). Point being that they are not native to Africa.

Also snakes largely have imbricate keeled cyloid top scales. Their ventral scales are always much larger then show here and are primarily single column. Separate and rectangular scales are more of a lizard thing.

The thing is while they are neatly organized. They are separate rectangular and not mucronate. Which makes me think not a monitor lizard. And you can see that on some individual scales are these small ridges running the same direction as the long axis of the scale...Those things combined makes me think crocodile (picture it as re-hydrated and not all stretched out or smoothed down from handling). And for the area of the world that may be likely. I could be wrong. But if you google image search "Hatchling Crocodile" you will see small well ordered separate rectangular scales, with tiny ridges in the right direction, and even the random black on tan speckling is right.

Last edited by Helleri; 14th January 2016 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 15th January 2016, 01:41 PM   #5
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Default Another Tubu (Tebu) dagger

A gift from a friend, collected when he was working in Chad.
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Old 15th January 2016, 09:29 PM   #6
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The Handle and the top of the scabbard looks like croc as well (again young). The tip of the scabbard though...looks like snake.
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Old 16th January 2016, 03:45 AM   #7
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In a fit of temporary insanity I once bought a kaskara with a scabbard made out of a whole baby crocodile, shriveled legs and all....

Couldn't bring myself even to look at it. Sold it at a loss.

Call me squeamish, but taxidermy is not my cup of tea. Something must be wrong with people hanging heads of animals on the wall, using tiger skins as family room rugs or petting stuffed animals.

I hate natural history museums, but as a Divine punishment for my sins in previous life, every time I go to my office I must pass by a humongous stuffed buffalo.....
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Old 16th January 2016, 05:10 AM   #8
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A whole baby croc..Like they just shoved a wooden insert down it's throat and were like "that works". Wow, lol. I don't know if that is creative, grotesque, or lazy. Maybe a bit of each.
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Old 16th January 2016, 07:21 AM   #9
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Hi guys,

Judging from the pictures, regarding the skin used on these knifes; the squarish pieces are side/belly-pieces from some species of monitor lizard (crocodile species don't have keeled scales) . The tip of the bottom scabbard could be from a snake or monitor/lizard back piece.


Cheers, - Thor
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Old 16th January 2016, 11:41 AM   #10
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This dagger is from the Sudan. See http://www.britishmuseum.org/researc...es=true&page=1 as a reference.
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Old 16th January 2016, 02:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Koch
Hi guys,

Judging from the pictures, regarding the skin used on these knifes; the squarish pieces are side/belly-pieces from some species of monitor lizard (crocodile species don't have keeled scales) . The tip of the bottom scabbard could be from a snake or monitor/lizard back piece.


Cheers, - Thor
The ventral scales of monitors are separated more with small mucronate scales between them. But at the top of the scabbard there, the scales are very closely knit. The handle could be monitor I suppose (I don't see the same dermal ridges that are on the individual scale from the last piece). And I agree that the bottom of the scabbard is probably snake. But I do think the top of the handle is ventral scales from a young crocodile.

...This is pretty interesting for the mixed organic material's it's using. Aside from the possibility of the 3 different reptile skins. There is also the leather, lace, and wood. Makes me think the maker was either highly selective or had to take what they could get.
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Old 17th January 2016, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
This dagger is from the Sudan. See http://www.britishmuseum.org/researc...es=true&page=1 as a reference.
Hi Ian, I agree this is fro the Sudan. I have something similar covered with lizard skin which I have always thought was Sudanese, here are some pics of it.
Miguel
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Old 17th January 2016, 03:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helleri
A whole baby croc..Like they just shoved a wooden insert down it's throat and were like "that works". Wow, lol. I don't know if that is creative, grotesque, or lazy. Maybe a bit of each.
Not quite like that as it requires a lot of skill and patience to make a scabbard from a whole reptile which will be fit for purpose and last. Lazy never. Miguel
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Old 18th January 2016, 02:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel
Hi Ian, I agree this is fro the Sudan. I have something similar covered with lizard skin which I have always thought was Sudanese, here are some pics of it.
Miguel
Can you take some much closer pictures of the scales (especially the center of the handle on the stitched side)?
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Old 18th January 2016, 07:23 AM   #15
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The last two photos of the dagger posted above are from Nile monitor, Varanus niloticus.

The ventral scales of monitors, have a linear allignment at the abdomen with no irregular scales between them. My leather ID manual is hard to get at at the moment, but I will see if I can finde some online examples later.


Cheers, - Thor

Last edited by T. Koch; 18th January 2016 at 07:35 AM.
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Old 18th January 2016, 08:25 AM   #16
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THE CRAFT OF TAXIDERMY OR OF TANNING HIDES OR MAKING GOOD LEATHER IS NEITHER EASY OR LAZY WORK. THE SKINNING ALONE CAN BE HARD WORK. IT IS LIKELY THE HIDE IS OF SECONDARY USE AS THE MEAT LIKELY WAS IN THE POT IN AFRICA SO DISCARDING THE HIDE WOULD BE WASTEFUL. THEY OFTEN DON'T HAVE MUCH SO AS A RESULT THEY DON'T WASTE MUCH UNLIKE MORE MODERN SOCIETY.
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Old 18th January 2016, 04:01 PM   #17
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Well said.
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