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Old 23rd July 2015, 03:11 PM   #1
Miguel
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Default Dahomey Hwi

Hi everyone,
I have what I believe to be a Dahomey Hwi which has been forged from what I believe to have been a French 19C infantry sabre. Your opinions would be welcome. The overall length is 22.75 ins with a blade length of 17.5 ins.
Miguel
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Old 23rd July 2015, 04:04 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
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Very cool. Looks like a coverted French bayonet or shortsword of some kind.
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Old 23rd July 2015, 04:30 PM   #3
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Hi Miguel,
It's a super cool stuff!
You have a converted French briquet, infantry short sword.
Now i don't know if it's a late 18th or 19th c. model.
The other members will tell you.
But you have the infantry unit engraved on the guard, so basically you will trace the whole history of this sword!
Congratulations
Kubur
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Old 23rd July 2015, 11:54 PM   #4
Battara
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What an interesting piece. Thanks for posting this.
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Old 24th July 2015, 03:20 AM   #5
Jim McDougall
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A truly amazing hybrid Miguel, thank you for bringing it in here!

It has been a long time since we have discussed these Dahomean hwi it seems, and for those interested in further reading on them, Christopher Spring in "African Arms and Armour" has a good section about them.
He uses plates and data from "Sabres Decores du Dahomey"
Montserrat Palau Marti
Objets et Mondes, VII:4, 1967
These fascinating ceremonial blades on these hwi reflect the tribal animist traditions and often facets of the West African Vodun religion.

This does appear to be a French briquette sword as noted by Kubur, and these were around latter 18th century, well into the 19th. They were replaced my a gladius type sword M1831 but both seem concurrent in 1830s.
The hilt on this one seems likely 2nd Empire c.1854+
While the French did not colonize Dahomey until 1872, I have researched hwi which were collected there c 1856 by French officers.

Fascinating example reflecting the Dahoman traditions coupled with French colonial situations, and great historical possibilities,
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Old 24th July 2015, 08:39 AM   #6
Martin Lubojacky
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As Jim already said: Fascinating example.
Congratulations
Martin
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Old 24th July 2015, 12:22 PM   #7
colin henshaw
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Very interesting cross-cultural piece - I like it.
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:22 PM   #8
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
Very cool. Looks like a coverted French bayonet or shortsword of some kind.

Thanks Tim I think it`s cool too.
Miguel
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:29 PM   #9
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Miguel,
It's a super cool stuff!
You have a converted French briquet, infantry short sword.
Now i don't know if it's a late 18th or 19th c. model.
The other members will tell you.
But you have the infantry unit engraved on the guard, so basically you will trace the whole history of this sword!
Congratulations
Kubur

Hi Kubur,

Thanks for the info, can you suggest to me the best place to start trying to track down the history of this sabre.
Many thanks
Miguel
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:33 PM   #10
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
What an interesting piece. Thanks for posting this.

Hi Battara,

You are very welcome.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:50 PM   #11
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
A truly amazing hybrid Miguel, thank you for bringing it in here!

It has been a long time since we have discussed these Dahomean hwi it seems, and for those interested in further reading on them, Christopher Spring in "African Arms and Armour" has a good section about them.
He uses plates and data from "Sabres Decores du Dahomey"
Montserrat Palau Marti
Objets et Mondes, VII:4, 1967
These fascinating ceremonial blades on these hwi reflect the tribal animist traditions and often facets of the West African Vodun religion.

This does appear to be a French briquette sword as noted by Kubur, and these were around latter 18th century, well into the 19th. They were replaced my a gladius type sword M1831 but both seem concurrent in 1830s.
The hilt on this one seems likely 2nd Empire c.1854+
While the French did not colonize Dahomey until 1872, I have researched hwi which were collected there c 1856 by French officers.

Fascinating example reflecting the Dahoman traditions coupled with French colonial situations, and great historical possibilities,

Hi Jim,
I am really pleased that you like it. I have a copy of Christopher Stone`s book, in fact his article was what lead me to believing it was a Hwi, further research led me to thinking it was made from a French sabre but I have not yet been able to discover which dignitary carried it and what office, if any, did it represent, military or civil, still a lot of work to do. Thanks again for your comments.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:53 PM   #12
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
As Jim already said: Fascinating example.
Congratulations
Martin


Hi Martin,
Thanks for your interest.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 26th July 2015, 02:57 PM   #13
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Very interesting cross-cultural piece - I like it.


Hi Colin,

I am glad that you like it, thanks for your interest.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 27th July 2015, 09:24 AM   #14
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THATS A GREAT LOOKING WEAPON,SO MARRIAGE OF FRENCH AND ???
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Old 28th July 2015, 07:58 AM   #15
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Absolutely fascinating! Beautiful!

If possible to tell, Is the blade re.forged from the original or replaced?

Spiral

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANDOOK
THATS A GREAT LOOKING WEAPON,SO MARRIAGE OF FRENCH AND ???


Dahomey... It was a country in Africa...

linky...
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Old 28th July 2015, 10:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel
Hi Kubur,

Thanks for the info, can you suggest to me the best place to start trying to track down the history of this sabre.
Many thanks
Miguel


Hi Miguel,
I suggest to see the Briquet model 1856-57, used by the "tirailleurs senegalais".
They were not only from Senegal but from all West Africa.
I guess one of them bring it back to Dahomey.
Have you seen that they cut one branch of the guard?
Best,
Kubur
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Old 28th July 2015, 07:46 PM   #17
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANDOOK
THATS A GREAT LOOKING WEAPON,SO MARRIAGE OF FRENCH AND ???

Hi Bandook,

Thanks for your comments. Dahomey was West African kingdom ruled by a king and almost continually at war with it`s neighbours. It had an army of Amazons, the elite of which, who also served as the king`s bodyguard. It no longer exists but would have been in Benin Nigeria.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 28th July 2015, 07:52 PM   #18
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
Absolutely fascinating! Beautiful!

If possible to tell, Is the blade re.forged from the original or replaced?

Spiral

ps

Dahomey... It was a country in Africa...

linky...

Hi Spiral.

I am fairly certain that the blade was forged from the original.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 28th July 2015, 08:08 PM   #19
Miguel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Hi Miguel,
I suggest to see the Briquet model 1856-57, used by the "tirailleurs senegalais".
They were not only from Senegal but from all West Africa.
I guess one of them bring it back to Dahomey.
Have you seen that they cut one branch of the guard?
Best,
Kubur


Hi Kubur,

Thanks for your suggestion, an interesting theory. I had noted that they had removed the knuckle guard, I think that this was to provide a balance wit the down turned quillon.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 29th July 2015, 07:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguel
Hi Spiral.

I am fairly certain that the blade was forged from the original.
Regards
Miguel


Thank you Miguel! That makes it even nicer!

spiral
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Old 30th July 2015, 03:30 AM   #21
Jim McDougall
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Just to note, this is posted on the European Armoury as well, where Ken Maddox suggested these markings were in fact German regimental marks. This indeed appears to be the case, as noted on that thread. While clearly West Africa was colonized by the French, there was considerable German activity there as well.
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Old 30th July 2015, 10:40 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Just to note, this is posted on the European Armoury as well, where Ken Maddox suggested these markings were in fact German regimental marks. This indeed appears to be the case, as noted on that thread. While clearly West Africa was colonized by the French, there was considerable German activity there as well.


Ooops you are right!
So the branch of the guard was not cut as the German one is exactly like that.
Do you think that Tanganiyka was most probably the origin?
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Old 30th July 2015, 07:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubur
Ooops you are right!
So the branch of the guard was not cut as the German one is exactly like that.
Do you think that Tanganiyka was most probably the origin?

Hi Kubur,
It still is likely to be a French sabre taken by the Germans during the Franco Prussian war and stamped with their markings of regiment etc. as the French, apparently did not stamp these on the quillon, so the original assumption may still be correct. See Ken Maddox`s comments on the European Forum.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 30th July 2015, 08:29 PM   #24
Tim Simmons
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Most likely acquired during the establishment of German West Africa, Togo. I think it is a really super piece. Who else has got anything like it. Countless Kaskara, Talwar, Mandau, keris, and so on and on.

Last edited by Tim Simmons : 30th July 2015 at 08:41 PM.
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