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Old 24th December 2013, 10:41 PM   #61
blue lander
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It finally arrived! It's in terrific shape but the hilt's a little wobbly. I'll take better pictures later, but I took pics of two things I immediately noticed (apologies for the blurriness)

1: there's diagonal lines along the spine by the hilt. They only continue for a few inches, the rest is flat.

2: the back scale of the hilt is definitely wood, but I think the decorated front side might be bone or perhaps wood covered with something?
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Old 25th December 2013, 02:25 PM   #62
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Salaams Note to Library;

To round off the Moroccan Nimcha I would like to offer a four artworks as under;
Eugene-Delacroix "Soldier of the Moroccan Imperial Guard-1845.
DELACROIX_Eugene The Sultan of Morocco and his Entourage_1845.
Nimcha Artist and date unknown Morocco. 19thC.
Constant le Caid 1873 . Morocco.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 25th December 2013, 03:55 PM   #63
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Also of note - the wooden scales have shrunk enough that I could peer between them with a flashlight. It doesnt look like the tang extends past the first rivet, the one beneath the leather wrap. The back two rivets are just for holding the scales together. The wood's so old, I think the only thing keeping it together is that leather wrap. You can see some damage to the wood beneath the leather where it's torn away so I assume it was added later as a repair.
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Old 27th December 2013, 04:21 PM   #64
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Some less blurry photos of the crosses, the moon, and the diagonal lines on the spine.

I also noticed the part of the spine with the diagonal lines is actually a bit thinner than the rest of the blade. I wonder if it was filed down as part of it's transformation into a s'boula.

Edit: on closer inspection the whole spine has file marks, they're just fainter on the rest of the spine
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Last edited by blue lander : 27th December 2013 at 09:22 PM.
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Old 29th December 2013, 12:52 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Some less blurry photos of the crosses, the moon, and the diagonal lines on the spine.

I also noticed the part of the spine with the diagonal lines is actually a bit thinner than the rest of the blade. I wonder if it was filed down as part of it's transformation into a s'boula.

Edit: on closer inspection the whole spine has file marks, they're just fainter on the rest of the spine


Salaams Blue Lander, Thank you for the clearer pictures. As I have noted the crosses are representing the Southern Cross. They must have been done locally by Berber craftsmen. I have the same impression of the moon strikes... locally done (not at source in the case of European produced blades)..

The moon takes on a quite different meaning (though, broadly, it is talismanic in both the Eastern and Western sense) I suggest that on North African swords it represented the new moon and as the design crept across the Sahara region into the red sea it changed slightly to combine moon with and without facial features and moon with stars struck like asterisks or dots etc etc...So that though the basic marks were put by local smiths they used local designs...thus they morphed from one region to another...Where the funny face moon was copied from Caucasus and other European swords these can be seen to be quite rudimentary copies and it is assumed they just copied them willy-nilly as moon shapes..Squigles, spots and all !

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 30th December 2013, 05:37 PM   #66
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Salaams all Note to Library ... Some quotes about Moroccan daggers from the famous ...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

* Stone 1934 p310
"In Morocco the blades are straight and single-edged for about half their length from the hilt, and then curved and double-edged for the remainder. They seldom have ribs. The hilts and scabbards are usually of brass or silver, often the front is of silver and the back of brass. The scabbards frequently curve so much that the ends point upwards. There are almost always large ornamental lugs on the sides that carry large rings to which a cord is fastened by which the knife is hung from the neck. The hilts are usually made entirely of metal and have large, flat pommels. The side of the hilt and scabbard that is outward when the knife is carried is always elaborately, though crudely, decorated. The opposite side is much simpler, in fact, in many cases it is entirely plain."

* Spring 1993 p24
"There are a number of Moroccan variations of the type of dagger collectively known as janbiyya which form an essential element of the formal attire of every adult man in Arabia and the Maghrib countries of North Africa. As with the nimsha, the blades of Moroccan daggers are frequently fitted with European blades, including examples made in Sheffield and Birmingham in England, and Solingen in Germany. The koummya, with its distinctive 'peacock's tail' pommel, is found in a number of variant forms in the Sous region and the Atlas mountains of Southern Morocco. Like the nimsha and the Tuareg takouba, the koummya, is worn on the left side by means of a baldric slung over the right shoulder. The Arabian janbiyya, by contrast, is normally worn in a belt on the front of a man's stomach."

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Old 30th December 2013, 06:12 PM   #67
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Salaams all... and about Moroccan Nimchas
Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

* North 1985 p29-30
"The classic sword of the area is the 'Nimcha'. This has more than a hint of European influence especially in the form of the hilt, which is fitted with a knuckle bow linked to curved quillons. These hilts are found mounted with straight and curved blades[;] the straight blades were usually imported from Europe. This type of sword continued in use until the 19th century."

* Spring 1993 p24
"The nimsha includes elements from both Islamic and European swords in a synthesis which is nonetheless distinctively African. A diagnostic features of many Islamic swords is the cap pommel set at an angle at the top of the grip. In the nimsha this appears as an enlarged and ornate extension to protect the back of the hand. The grip, often of rhinoceros horn or ivory traded across the Sahara, sometimes included a hollowed-out section to accommodate the little finger. By contrast, the form of the four quillons, three curving downwards and the fourth bent back to form a knuckle guard, is suggestive of southern European models, particularly the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spanish swords whose influence may also be seen among those weapons produced in the region of the ancient kingdom of Kongo on the lower Zaire river. The nimsha began to appear from the late sixteenth century and was at first mounted with straight, European blades often of Venetian or Genoese provenance. A shorter, curved version, of entirely local manufacture, was developed during the seventeenth century for use as a naval cutlass."

* Stone 1934 p469
"NIMCHA. An Arab sabre with a knuckle guard rectangular at the base with drooping quillons on the opposite side. It is also used in Morocco."
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Old 21st May 2016, 12:00 AM   #68
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Apologies for resurrecting an old thread but I just saw this curved Shiavona with nearly identical star/moon markings as my blade.


http://sword-site.com/thread/731/curved-schiavona

The quality or detail of the marks on that blade don't seem any fancier or nicer than he ones on mine. I wonder if the marks on mine were done in Europe when it was forged rather than in Africa as most people assume.
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Old 21st May 2016, 12:28 AM   #69
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The moons are quite different; the crosses seem a better match.
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Old 21st May 2016, 08:35 AM   #70
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Great to see this one pop up again... The beauty of Forum Library...

Blue Lander your hilt is Rhino...see the bunched spaghetti endings? Get a powerful light onto the hilt and it should illuminate up nicely.

Is it one of the hilt forms or perhaps a Gurade hilt? I show to compare a Gurade Hilt ...

The question about the cross and moon ..is interesting... The Cross shown is the famous style both in North African and Spanish form already noted earlier but outlined here;

Quote" Cross of Saint James
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Cross of Saint James as used by the Order of Santiago.

In heraldry, the Cross of Saint James, also called the Santiago cross or the cruz espada,[1] is a charge in the form of a cross. It combines a cross fitchy (the lower limb is pointed, as if to be driven into the ground) with either a cross fleury[2] (the arms end in fleurs-de-lys) or a cross moline[1] (the ends of the arms are forked and rounded).

Most notably, a red Cross of Saint James with flourished arms, surmounted with an escallop,[2] was the emblem of the twelfth-century Spanish military Order of Santiago, named after Saint James the Greater. It is also used as a decorative element on the Tarta de Santiago, a traditional Galician sweet."UNQUOTE.

See the thread by Fenris at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=3985 where an almopst identical blade is shown ...and below ... but on a Moroccan/Algerian Nimcha.
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Old 21st May 2016, 09:14 AM   #71
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The Cross of Agadez: Very similar design to that of the above cross..Certainly the design above would have been attractive a Talisman to the Tuareg tribals in the Nigerian and neighbouring regions...see https://www.google.com/search?q=tua...Pww-tZxufI3M%3A for many other examples.

The European Link. I note a host of different sources for the use of the moon from Toledo and Solingen not as makers marks but more as a trend/fashion in blades with popular marks. Various centres used these including the workshops of Juan Martinez and Peter Munich in Toledo and Solingen respectively in the mid 17th C. I see no reason why these could not have joined the copied marks popular in North Africa and some may well have arrived there already adorned..

I add the important reference on Forum at http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/takouba.html
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Old 21st May 2016, 02:36 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ibrahiim al Balooshi

Is it one of the hilt forms or perhaps a Gurade hilt? I show to compare a Gurade Hilt ...



While I don't dispute the NW African/Tuareg attribution, I agree with Ibrahiim on the similarity to Gurade hilts, and in turn, to Sudanese arm daggers. In Blue Nile, historically a 'borderlands' transitional zone between Sudanic and Ethiopian cultural areas ( see https://www.isca.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin...013/1-James.pdf eg), arm dagger-style hilts are still occasionally seen on straight-bladed short or medium-length swords, giving a visual effect similar to a straightened gurade and very much like the sword in question.

Coincidence, I'm sure, but interesting.

The leatherwork on the hilt also gives it a vaguely Sudanic/Sahelian aspect, but not quite like anything I've seen before.
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Old 21st May 2016, 03:01 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumpel
While I don't dispute the NW African/Tuareg attribution, I agree with Ibrahiim on the similarity to Gurade hilts, and in turn, to Sudanese arm daggers. In Blue Nile, historically a 'borderlands' transitional zone between Sudanic and Ethiopian cultural areas ( see https://www.isca.ox.ac.uk/fileadmin...013/1-James.pdf eg), arm dagger-style hilts are still occasionally seen on straight-bladed short or medium-length swords, giving a visual effect similar to a straightened gurade and very much like the sword in question.

Coincidence, I'm sure, but interesting.

The leatherwork on the hilt also gives it a vaguely Sudanic/Sahelian aspect, but not quite like anything I've seen before.



Yes good point and the likelihood of design influence across a broad band of countries is seen...Here is a trade map or two...European trade blades were awash in North Africa and access to Red Sea routes also opened the floodgates of weaponry into that region by sea ..There are other power houses at work such as the entry into the Indian Ocean by the Portuguese French and English and the big hub generators of trade like Zanzibar, Comores, Islands India and the big slave land and sea routes therein. The massive East India companies pumped into the region were the EIC and the Dutch both equally powerful outfits and then on top of that the pilgrimage routes all making for brisk trade around the regions.

On links between Ethiopia and the Tuareg around the Niger region please see

https://addisabram.wordpress.com/20...ar-to-timbuktu/

QUOTE" Tuaregs are probably distant relatives of Ethiopians, Egyptians and Moroccans. Maybe Christianity had a certain influence on them: Tuareg blacksmiths sculpt beautiful Crossess. The crosses, worn as pendants were originally worn by men and passed from father to son. Most of the cross designs are named after oasis towns. The Ethiopian influence in them is obvious.

The Tuareg belong to the large Berber community, which stretches from the Canary Islands to Egypt and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Niger River. They are the only Berber speaking community to have preserved and used the Tifinagh writing. Nomads of vast arid lands, the common denominator of the dispersed Tuareg is the language, Tamasheq. Consequently, they identify themselves as Kel Tamasheq (people of Tamasheq). The Tuareg who had originally lived in the northern tier of Africa but were later chased southwards by successive Arab invasions".UNQUOTE.
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Old 26th May 2016, 09:10 PM   #74
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The trade map above can best be put into perspective by viewing the brilliant treatise on http://iainnorman.com/
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