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Old 29th January 2005, 03:41 AM   #1
Lew
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Default Sudanese Arm Dagger For Comment

Hi Guys

This just arrived today. Another arm dagger for my growing African collection. Don't ask me why I just really like this style of knife and I think this is number four with another on it's way. This one has a 8" blade and a rather plain wood handle. The scabbard is quite nicely done with lizard skin trim. On on side of the scabbard there is a symbol or letters which was later translated by one of my friends as "Allah". My guess is mid 20th century as far as age goes. Any other comments or information will be appreciated.



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Old 29th January 2005, 11:20 AM   #2
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Yes, the translation is 'Allah'. The scabbard is more elaborate than the blade.
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Old 30th January 2005, 07:30 PM   #3
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Hi Louis,This one has silver wire on the handle.I have just recieved this weekend, a copy of De fer et de fierte' from the Barbier-Mueller museum,as recommended by Freddy.This is a must for people in to Africa, it does not have everything but what book does? [IMG]http://[/IMG] Tim
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Old 30th January 2005, 07:56 PM   #4
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This is my contribution to the topic.

A dagger that lives last decade in my home. It has plain wood hilt with silver pommel.

I suppose that lot of forumites have one
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Old 31st January 2005, 03:03 AM   #5
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Nice daggers gentleman! Here are two others for show. I wonder how many variations of this type of dagger are out there?


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Old 1st February 2005, 02:23 AM   #6
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This one arrived today and it is very similar to the ones I saw in an earlier thread. The blade is 10" long and has some written in Arabic but I have no Idea what it says. This is the thread that I mentioned.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=111



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Old 1st February 2005, 07:15 AM   #7
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LOUIBLADES, difficult to read the text (the pictures are upside down), but the year on the dagger is 1318 A.H., which is the year 1900/1901 according to the Christian calendar.
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Old 1st February 2005, 09:22 AM   #8
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Here's my contribution to the thread.
Had it for many years. What is the
flat triangular pommel for? Skull crusher?
Don't know anything about the knife. One
of my few, besides Berbers, African pieces.

Rich S
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Old 1st February 2005, 10:00 AM   #9
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Rich: Your dagger is a tebu - or toubou, depending on how you represent it - dagger from the Sahara desert. Please refer to these old threads for more information on this style:

Tebu dagger from Goa

Toubou knife for your comment, from Chuck

Lew: I find it interesting that your most recently pictured dagger has the same device on the forte of the blade as mine that was pictured in the thread you cited in the same post. This style is attributed specifically to Sudan the country, as in Khartoum, while Rick's knife is from further west in the Sahara (Chad, Niger), a product of an oasis dwelling people.
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Old 1st February 2005, 10:12 AM   #10
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That arrow-shaped pommel is associated with certain tribes, and goes hand-in-hand with the leather hand grip. Same sheath though, huh? I have an unusual sword with such a pommel and a disc-shaped cutting tip, which was collected (as rusty farm shed-junk, BTW) in Nigeria. The term "tebu" is associated with the pointy-pommel daggers, but I don't know if it's a name for the dagger or for a tribe. It seems I've seen......Fulanis?.........with them.
Yannis, are those feathered edges on yours? (a secondary bevel similar to "hollow grinding" but usually forged, as common on Berbese kodme) Is it symetrical in cross section, or is the feathering or other features offset?
This seems to be a broad widespread style with many varieties.
Now a mental excercise: picture if you will those double-sickle Konda/Mongo swords, Kuba ilwoon, and Kenyan (the Massaie don't make their own weapons traditionally, iron-wprling being against their religion/tradition and it seems pretty dang identical to swords of nearby tribes, such as Watutsi) seme on a continuum, along with the many similar swords.
Something I've wanted to mention for some time, and now seems to have "come up" is that iron and ironworking (probably due to weapon associations, but perhaps to use as money as well) and the blacksmith/iron god are all commonly associated with royalty in Africa, and I'm noting that nations with prohibitions against working or touching iron may tend to be nations traditionally free from kings and structured governments (thinking here of Tuaregs and Massai; other examples? counter-examples? Input?)
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Old 1st February 2005, 10:44 AM   #11
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Lee and Tom -

Thanks for reference to the old thread on Tebu knives.
How do you guys remember all these old threads? I can't
recall what I had for breakfast :-)

Rich S
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Old 1st February 2005, 11:40 AM   #12
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Arrow

Tom, Tebu is the name of the tribal group, so I am just using it to modify the subject of dagger.

Rich, I forget a lot more of the old threads than I remember, but the search functions run on all of the forums; it is just that there are three separate searches which one must do to scan the entire archives, though I believe Google will find the oldest material and the current forums.

Use the FreeFind Search Service for the static part of the site and the oldest forum archives, and the built in search functions of each forum for the more recent UBB and current vB forums...
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Old 1st February 2005, 12:13 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
Yannis, are those feathered edges on yours? (a secondary bevel similar to "hollow grinding" but usually forged, as common on Berbese kodme) Is it symetrical in cross section, or is the feathering or other features offset?


I am not sure I understand what do you mean "feathered edges". Blade is handforged. In cross section, bladesmith tried to make it symetrical but he didnt manage it There are 3 ridges on every side but not exactly the same.
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Old 1st February 2005, 12:28 PM   #14
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Default This is What the Italians called "karra"

Louie,

Excellent, man. If I remember correctly, you got one of those with the silver wrap for a total steal.

Your examples are what Mr. D'Angelo termed as "karra". This came from his Italian colonial military handbook on north African terms and phrases. The book was distributed to soldiers during the occupation of Ethiopia.

Someone else noted that "karra" seems like a short form of "kaskara". Interesting comparison, but I don't know if there's a linguistic connection.

I just got one this week as well. I'll post pics asap!

-d
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Old 1st February 2005, 04:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rather
LOUIBLADES, difficult to read the text (the pictures are upside down), but the year on the dagger is 1318 A.H., which is the year 1900/1901 according to the Christian calendar.

LOUIBLADES,
Rarher's deciphering is OK. the whole inscription reads "Omdurman - year 1318".
BTW does anyone know how these knives are/were worn? I have heard and read that on the left arm, but where and how exactly? Maybe there exist a picture showing such knife "in use"...?
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Old 1st February 2005, 05:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
Something I've wanted to mention for some time, and now seems to have "come up" is that iron and ironworking (probably due to weapon associations, but perhaps to use as money as well) and the blacksmith/iron god are all commonly associated with royalty in Africa, and I'm noting that nations with prohibitions against working or touching iron may tend to be nations traditionally free from kings and structured governments (thinking here of Tuaregs and Massai; other examples? counter-examples? Input?)


Here is an interesting contrast from the Shan states in Burma. Among the Shan, blacksmithing is considered peasant's work and is beneath any one of noble blood, or who aspires to nobility. The Shan hold that silver working is proper for nobility, however. I expect that it is due to iron-working being seen as "dirty," what with the sweat, scale, charcoal and such, while silver-working is more "dignified" and artistic.

I know that at least one reason why iron working is given such a high place in many societies is the importance that weapons played, and having a blacksmith was an important advantage. They used to get kidnapped a lot in West Africa apparently, and taken prisoner in battle rather than killed. I would guess that also the fact that is is a developed and somewhat arcane art, turning a lump of something into a useful and beautiful item, adds to the mystique.
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Old 2nd February 2005, 03:47 AM   #17
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I've seen them worn on the outside of the left arm, with the belt passing around the narrow part above the bicep/tricep mass, and the tip hanging downward in typical fashion.
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Old 6th February 2005, 01:05 PM   #18
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Hi Tom

A few months ago I saw one of those 19 century orientalist paintings of a Sudanese warrior on ebay and he was wearing a large Tebu style dagger on his left forearm hilt faced down. The scabbard was Tuereg looking with a round brass arm band hold it in place. Unfortunately I was stupid and the auction ended before I was able to bid on it By the way I just picked up another large karra dagger like the last one I posted it also has incriptions on the blade and I will post some pictures as soon as I can.


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Old 6th February 2005, 02:52 PM   #19
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I have read of them worn this way, on the forearm, supposedly within the sleeve of a robe, and I have seen it in illustrations, but I don't think I've seen it in a photograph. Perhaps the fashion has changed over the years, too?
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Old 6th February 2005, 07:53 PM   #20
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I have heard the same, but what worries me is that all examples I have seen have rather loose sheaths; it would be not very practical to wear the knife with its hilt faced down...
BTW: Spring's African Arms and Armour, plate 3: isn't it a Tebu knife attached to the upper part of the sword's sheath?
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Old 11th February 2005, 05:01 AM   #21
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Hi Guys

Here hopefully is my last Sudanese dagger It also has an inscription on the blade but it was very hard to photogragh so here is my poor excuse at copying the script. I also came across this Tebu dagger the interesting thing is that the scabbard has a belt loop rather than the traditional arm band loops?


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Old 11th February 2005, 10:01 AM   #22
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Hi Lew,
another great piece! I, personally, hope that it is not your LAST Sudanese dagger I like to see them from time to time, and this forum seems to be more and more dominated by kerises (with all due respect to keris-lovers and kerises themselves). Concerning the inscription, the lower line resembles in shape the word "Omdurman" (again!), but written carelessly and without diacritics. The upper one is more complicated; its form can suggest that it contains a date (the elongated word "year" and the date itself above it, as in your previous piece). On the other hand, the middle part of it can be the beginning of the 20th Sura (Ta Ha); this, however, seems to me less probable, as I have never seen this kind of knives decorated with Qur'anic inscriptions and, besides, this particular fragment is not very apppropriate for decoration of arms. It is also possible that the inscription has been copied from another dagger by an illiterate artisan who tried to render the shape of what he saw without understanding it. It would be interesting to check this; could you try to photograph the inscription? Or maybe, if lines are incised (as I suppose), you can rub it through tracing paper
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Old 11th February 2005, 11:07 AM   #23
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Lew,
I haven't noticed the last picture (the photograph of the inscription) - it is quite good and I must correct my previous guesses concerning the lower line of text. I'm now sute that it reads "al-Khartoum", quite ornately written, in two lines. Alas - no date. Or maybe there is something more?
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Old 24th February 2005, 01:39 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hyle
I've seen them worn on the outside of the left arm, with the belt passing around the narrow part above the bicep/tricep mass, and the tip hanging downward in typical fashion.

Hi Tom

I found a black and white print of Sudanese warrior notice the position of ther dagger.

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Old 24th February 2005, 06:05 AM   #25
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Kamil, you're 100% correct about that being a tebu dagger affixed to the outside of the takouba scabbard worn by the Taureg in the photograph on plate 3 in Spring's....I posted a close up of that same picture several years ago in the old forum and even have mine displayed that way as a great space saver **grin**....that little leather strp fits the scabbard much better than my arm!!!!
The only knives I've seen with the wider bands have all been teleks, as opposed to the old illustrations with it on other style knives.
Heck, at that time the style that started this thread were still being attributed to having been derived from German daggers, a la Stone.
Mike
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Old 24th February 2005, 12:30 PM   #26
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This is elvoving in to the official African arm dagger thread, so I'm posting mine here. Also, I'll repeat my question here: Can anyone share a good resource for info on these styles? A book that (at least partly) focuses on N. African daggers?
-d

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Old 24th February 2005, 06:00 PM   #27
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I think this little Mangbetu piece is an arm dagger.There is a small leather loop on the back of the scabbard.It is too top heavy to stay in position unless touching the body.Tim
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Old 13th March 2012, 04:45 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lew
Here hopefully is my last Sudanese dagger It also has an inscription on the blade but it was very hard to photogragh so here is my poor excuse at copying the script.
Hi Lew
with a lot of delays ... but I just get back my translator
about the text
if really it has a meaning, it's not in Sudanese language
language, very similar to Egyptian
those two ligns, hasn't apparently a sense in Arabic dixit my translator

regards

+

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Old 13th March 2012, 05:05 PM   #29
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Hey Dom,

It does actually:P The top word is الخرطوم AlKhartoum and the 2nd is أم درمان Um Durman.
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Old 13th March 2012, 06:29 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
It does actually:P The top word is الخرطوم AlKhartoum and the 2nd is أم درمان Um Durman.
BRAVO ALEK you are correct
I know one, she will be teased
and "Lew" will have an enigma solved

thanks my Bro. for your help

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