Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 25th July 2018, 04:58 AM   #31
TVV
Member
 
TVV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,277
Default

On the subject of silver hilted kaskara in published works, it is true that there is a scarcity of images. In Tirri's "Islamic and Native Weapons of Colonial Africa" in fig. 1-13 there are a couple of kaskara swords with what looks like some metal on the hilt, but nothing worth including here. In Spring there is one silver hilted kaskara in a black and white photo. North of course has the famous Ali Dinar sword from the V&A Museum.

However, there is one publication that contains a couple of very interesting silver hilted kaskaras - "Islamic and Oriental Arms & Armor, A Lifetime Passion" by Robert Hales on p.360. This book also has an image of the Sotheby's sword.

Regards,
Teodor
Attached Images
 
TVV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2018, 12:13 PM   #32
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Teodor,

Great catch. Thanks. I've found three other I'll post as soon as I can create good detailed images, hopefully today:
Victoria & Albert Museum M.47-1953 and Royal Armories Leeds XXVIS.165 & 166. #166 has a double pommel almost exactly like yours except for the very top and all three have star & comet covers as does yours. The more we dig the more family features we find.

Regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2018, 03:33 PM   #33
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Here are three more Star & Comet covers. All in the same motif. They are not identical suggesting they were produced by different artisans.

1. Victoria and Albert Museum M.47-1953
2. Royal Armouries Collections, Leeds XXVIS.166. Note the double pommel. Its similar to the one posted above by Teodor.
3. Royal Armouries Collections, Leeds XXVIS.165. Wire wrapped at bottom just like #166.
Attached Images
   
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th July 2018, 03:50 PM   #34
TVV
Member
 
TVV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,277
Default

Great images Ed, thank you for digging those up. I know the discussion is on the hilts, but the one you posted from the Victoria & Albert Museum has a really interesting blade, probably Persian and quite old.

Teodor
TVV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th July 2018, 12:14 AM   #35
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Here's the link to the V&A sword. The image will enlarge to give great detail. They say the blade is 17th Cent. and gives the maker's name. Its #M.47-1953 in case the link doesn't work.
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O71642/sword/

Best,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th July 2018, 02:32 PM   #36
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,561
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
On the subject of silver hilted kaskara in published works, it is true that there is a scarcity of images. In Tirri's "Islamic and Native Weapons of Colonial Africa" in fig. 1-13 there are a couple of kaskara swords with what looks like some metal on the hilt, but nothing worth including here. In Spring there is one silver hilted kaskara in a black and white photo. North of course has the famous Ali Dinar sword from the V&A Museum.

However, there is one publication that contains a couple of very interesting silver hilted kaskaras - "Islamic and Oriental Arms & Armor, A Lifetime Passion" by Robert Hales on p.360. This book also has an image of the Sotheby's sword.

Regards,
Teodor


I'm fascinated by the sword on the right in this image. Its almost takouba like in guard construction, including the scabbard fittings. Anyone know where it ended up or have more images?
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th April 2019, 12:29 AM   #37
stephen wood
Member
 
stephen wood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 222
Default Peter Kull, Solingen.

A fascinating piece, thank you so much.

I used Pallme's "Travels..." extensively some years ago in one of my talks about the Kaskara to the Arms and Armour Society at the Tower of London.

"Knell" seems to be a typo. It should read "Kull" as on this Cavalry Sabre. Curiously, I have not yet found a Kaskara with a blade by this maker.

This thread from ten tears ago is worth a look.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?p=83072
Attached Images
  

Last edited by stephen wood : 14th April 2019 at 12:57 AM.
stephen wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th April 2019, 01:08 AM   #38
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Stephen,

Thanks for your comments. I'm now today revising/updating this essay in prep for it to be converted into a pdf, as already are the other two essays. I'll incorporate comments above, especially an enlarged pommels section and would appreciate any additional comments you may offer

Best regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 01:10 AM   #39
stephen wood
Member
 
stephen wood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 222
Default The Princeton Expedition to Abyssinia

Ed,

I don't know if you have seen this text published in 1910, there is a section about swords among the Tigre which describes fullers and markings. This text was the theme, along with Burckhardt, of my third talk at the Arms and Armour Society.

It names five types, the fuller arrangements and marks will be familiar.


"THE NAMES OF SWORDS.

The [swords] that were renowned and had a name and
were inherited as heirlooms always by the first born sons,



1) Cf. above p. 184, No. 844.

2) The man who divided and pointed at the different portions with his
staff put down his staff upon the remainder.



SPECIES OF SWORDS



are the following. They did not carry them, however; but
they kept them as precious heirlooms.

[Those that have a name among. the Bet-Abrehe are the
following].

i. Black [of Gabres]. 2. ^Eldy, and 3. Lebteb (probably
from lablaba "he hurt"), [belonging to Hasala son of Tas-
faconj. 4. Narrow [of Harsoy]. 5. Black-white [of Bula],

[Among the Habab is known:] 6. Narrow [of 6aweg].

[Among the c Ad Takles are known :]

7. ^Albenay [of Naseh]. 8. Handmaids-worth, [belonging to
the c Ad 6eme c ]. 9. Half-silver [belonging to the c Ad Derar].
10. Black, and n. KabUlay [belonging to the c Ad Nauraddln].
12. Cutter [belonging to the G Ad Tedros].

[Among the c Ad Temaryam:]

13. Quick [of Sekkar]. 14. Shed [of D Eshaq]. 15. All-killer ! )
[of C AH son of Gabres]. 16. Black [of Be 3 emnat]. 17. Black
[of 3 Ezaz son of Gerenat]. 18. Cutter [of Fekak].

[Among the (jemmegan, in Tigrina Dembezan, i. e. the
region between c Ad Taklezan and Wara:] 19. Piercer.
20. Soldier. 21. White. 2 )

The names of some other swords [not owned by a known
family or man] are the following:

22. Marrow-eater. 23. Shearing. 24. Hurting. 25. Goats-
worth. 26. Dark-speckled. 27. Handmaids-worth. 28. Cutter.
29. Erring.

93- p - 173-

SPECIES OF SWORDS.

The swords are judged by their marks, and are called
"valuable" or "of little value." And .each species has a name.



1) Literally: Father of it all.

2) Cf. also the "Black" of Hakin wad Madln, Vol. Ill and IV, No. 672, 1. 13.



2O6 CUSTOMS

A.'Afren/i; B. MaJiawt; C. Kdr ; D. ^Abutfes; E. Bonkay.
Their marks are the following.

A. The ^Afrengl species.

1. The ^^Afrtngi from Sennar" is valuable. Its marks are:
above the pommel ') four lines along side each other, a span
long. And this is called the " D AfrengI with four streams."

2. But if together with the four lines there is a drum or
a lion or a serpent or a fly [carvedj on it, it is called
"^Afrengl Selemanl;" and this is more valuable than the
foregoing.

3. The "Black DAfrengI" is from Kabasa. Its mark is: a
broad line, a span long, above the pommel, and there is a
fly on it. It is the "Black ^Afrengi" and is also valuable;
and they are all [three] costly.

B. The Mahawl species.

1. The "Rhinoceros-hoof Mahawl" is valuable. Its marks
are: three lines, a span long, above its pommel, and two
crescents with their openings facing each other, and also
the hoof of a rhinoceros. It is costly.

2. The "Running-stream Mahawl" however, has the lines
reaching to its point; it is cheap. Or, again, if one of the

P. 174. lines is a little longer, and the two others are shorter, and
if the crescents face outward, it is [also] called the "Running-
stream Mahawl, and it is of little value, too.

C. The Kar species.

i. The "Closed Kar" has the following marks: it is "closed"
(i. e. without carving) from the pommel upward for a span,
and after that there is a broad line on it; or, again, together
with the closed space below, it is "closed" also above, be-
ginning from the point; for a span, and the broad line is in



i) In these descriptions the sword is always imagined point up.


the middle, and half of it is ornamented with small irregular
lines: it is valuable. Its price is like [that of], the ^Afrengl.
And it is called the "Closed Kar" or the "Erring."

2. But if the Kar is carved with a broad line up to the
point, it is of little value; and it is the sword of the high-
waymen only.

D. The ^Abut/'es species.

The ^Abute^es has under its pommel ') a square ornamented
with little irregular lines; and above the pommel it has a
broad line, a span long. It is of little value. And when it
is used in striking, it has sometimes a "dark day."

E. The Bonkay species is also of little value. 2 )
"

Last edited by stephen wood : 15th April 2019 at 01:35 AM.
stephen wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 03:06 AM   #40
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Thanks, Stephen. I couldn't get access to an English version via Archive ,only German, nor from Libgen.

Interesting apparent parallels between kaskara and Ethiopian broad swords, but yet several major differences as I interpret the Ethiopian terminology. Any relevant images in the Princeton book?

The afrengi types must be with foreign (European) blades. The fly, lion, and half moon markings are German and must have been imported well before the 1905-10 period. I'm surprised that 4-line fullers were specified. German & local blades with line fullers on kaskara were three and none that I know of had 4. I few had five, but they were most likely locally made outliers as noted in the Fullers essay.

In the EAA forum, many examples of the full length Kar/Khor were thought to have been made in Ethiopia. Some with two fairly wide fullers with Amharic letters inside. Kassala makers apparently copied Ethiopian designs on this type.

Thanks for sharing,
Regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 05:35 AM   #41
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,476
Default

Ed, this thread is outstanding, as is the paper you are developing and sharing here. It is truly exciting to see such scholarship in thoroughly examining this sword form, and finally compiling some resolving data in understanding these historic swords.

In reading through this, I have attempted to work my way through my own disheveled notes over some years of research I had worked on with various persons including some great conversations with you.

I wanted to add what I can here, as well as bring in some thoughts/questions.

The earliest example of the sword we recognize as the 'kaskara' as noted with the Funj Sultan Nasir Mohammed (1762-69) is interesting, especially with this star and comet motif. I had thought this cosmological concept with comets had come from the Mahdist period and had to do with his coming (Nigmet al Mahdi) and noted the great comet of 1882. Clearly this sign was already well known in the Islamic Dogma in these regions much earlier.
Also, the cosmological theme seems highly favored in blade decoration (the moons in some later blades with linear groups (on some 'lohr' blades).
In the comet and stars pattern motif in these hilts, it seems like there is a buduh square but with dots, at least it is what it reminds me of.

It is interesting that as late as 1870s, when Burton was researching his 1884 "Book of the Sword" , he saw these swords as from the Danakil (Afar from Ethiopian regions). While he used the term kaskara for broadswords of the Baggara tribes to the west, he does not seem to associate them with the 'Danakil' swords (illustrated as exactly kaskara in form).

The Princeton (1910) work posted here shows these swords to be of the Tigre, a people of Eritrea and Sudan. Other references noting kaskara seem to consider these of these regions, such as the "Voyage to Abysssinae" Theophile Lefebvre (1845) which interestingly illustrates a DUAL SPHERE 'kaskara' type sword (from 'History and Antiquities of Darfur' H.C. Balfour Paul , Sudan Antiquities Pamplet, 1955).
It would seem that 'kaskara' were a broadsword which evolved, probably through Mamluk sword types (?) in Sennar regions early (1760s at least) and were diffused into Ethiopian, Eritrean regions accordingly.

The subject of the dual sphere pommel, I found noted ( "Mahdism and the Egyptian Sudan" F.R.Wingate . 1891, p.137) ….." a pommel of twin flattened hollow spheres filled with beans or small pebbles- common among mounted nobility in Darfur. During victory celebrations Mahdist cavalry charged toward surrendered troops at full gallop, with these swords drawn and shook them to frighten the prisoners".
This was concurred in "Ten Years in the Mahdist Camp 1882-92" by Father Joseph Ohrwalder (1892).

As previously noted from the French book of 1845 (Lefebvre) one of these dual pommel swords is drawn, and presumably of Ethiopian origin.

The illustrations are of the dual sphere pommel shown earlier in this thread.
Next an Ali Dinar period kaskara I have, note the crocodile hide, also the unusual marking at forte which has been thought perhaps to be the Kull death head as interpreted.
Attached Images
   

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 15th April 2019 at 05:45 AM.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 11:37 AM   #42
stephen wood
Member
 
stephen wood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 222
Default Tigre People

The Tigre people who Littmann was writing about live in what is now Eritrea and the Sudan rather than Ethiopia proper. They are related to the Beja and were governed by an Ethiopian official, seen here with members of the expedition.
Attached Images
 
stephen wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 01:01 PM   #43
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Stephen,

I accessed an English version of the Princeton piece, p.204 f. Thanks.

Jim,

Thanks for your astute comments. I'd like to use your comments and reference to the pebbles in my Silver Dress update in process.

I think the apparent budah square on the Stars & Comets is actually a Dotted Square. It is the focal point of the cover. The dotted square is a ancient talismanic form described by L. D. Graham in his Repeat Letter Ciphers paper, p.e10, linked below.

https://www.academia.edu/1999297/In...th_the_Pleiades

I have a note in my 1984 Kassala field notes that has a "cow's head" mark much like the one on your sword. It was attributed to a smith named Sammani who made the sword seen at the time of Ansari, the first Sudanese president (c. 1956). Sammani died c. 1979.

More from notes: The shaykh of the Blacksmiths, Musa Malit, said that in 1918 no one makes swords. They came from Europe & Ethiopia made by companies. People in the country only carried knives & spears. People bought swords from soldiers in Mussawa (these would have been Italians I think), Egypt & Turks. They traded their spears for swords after the Mahdiya.

On the walls were pictures of the Mahdi, Gordon, Sadiq al Mahdi (the Mahdi's son), Othman Digna and the Khalifa. This was in 1984, 100 years after the Mahdiya and the reconquest. History lasts a long time there. What did Faulkner say? "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Regards,
Ed

Last edited by Edster : 15th April 2019 at 01:41 PM.
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 02:06 PM   #44
Jim McDougall
Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 7,476
Default

Thank you so much for the kind words Ed, and I added these excerpts from my notes in hopes you could use them in your work, so I am honored they will be useful.
That is exciting to know the smith's name, and that this is a cows head. I sort of thought it might be that and recall even looking into the brands used by cattle herders in Kordofan (MacMillan I think was author c.1911).
Could the mark have been from earlier and taken up by Sammani, this sword seems a lot older than the mid 20th...…...as I mentioned it was supposed to be from time of Ali Dinar (but as he was killed in 1914 the 1918 end of making seems understandable).

I recall your notes on Kassala and that the figures from the time of Mahdi, Khalif and Omdurman were still prominent in 1980s and as you well say, the past never ceases. For me these weapons tell us it is still here and their stories remind us.
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th April 2019, 02:57 PM   #45
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

I've seen the cow's head on a blade submitted by at least one other forum member as well. That combined with yours and the one in Kassala suggests that the mark was used multiple times, and the punches were available to other smiths. Your cross-guard looks old and is a forge welded 4-piece unit. Certainly older than the "50s. Probably much older. Many Mahdi era blades had religious inscriptions scratched on them and is a pretty good indication of that period.
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2019, 12:22 PM   #46
Bill M
Member
 
Bill M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA Georgia
Posts: 1,591
Default

Please comment on this? I should take some better images.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=Kaskara
Bill M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th April 2019, 05:22 PM   #47
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Bill M,

That's a very nice Kaskara. The blade has a Kar/Khor type fuller and was likely forged in the Tigre (Muslim) region of what is now Eritrea. My informants in Kassala in 1984 attributed the Kar's likely origin to Ethiopia, although that type of fuller was done in Sudan as well. Actually, the larger Beja peoples roamed over the area between Kassala, Suwakin, Mussawa, Red Sea Hills for several hundred years. Lots of spill over in these low lands. Kassaka itself is just a few miles from the Ethiopian border.

Stephen Woods information from Post # 36, collected in Eritrea in 1905-06, above describes this blade/fuller "species" as:
"2. But if the Kar is carved with a broad line up to the
point, it is of little value; and it is the sword of the high-
waymen only."

The Arabic script engraving, lines along edges of the fuller and the silver grip cover would put it as above the "highwaymen only" quality. Translation of the text would enhance our understanding of its origin and possible date.

The etchings on the blade are interesting, but don't really tell me any tales.

The silver grip cover isn't like the two known styles: diamonds and stars & Comets/dotted cross and would likely originate outside Sudan. The cross-guard looks kaskara style, but I don't know how far into Eritrea/Ethiopia the style penetrated. Some may argue that the style even originated there as similar versions have appeared on ancient Ethiopian wall paintings.

Hopefully others will add their interpretations.

Regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2019, 11:06 AM   #48
Iain
Member
 
Iain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Morava - Olomoucký kraj - Czech Republic
Posts: 1,561
Default

The etching on the blade is consistent with a European trade blade, these were popular astral themes on European blades, the blade is very likely to be 18th century and I think the opposite of something for a highwayman. This is the problem with some of the native classifications, depending when they were compiled they may refer in some cases to locally made blades that were inferior but obviously don't cover very good imports like this one.
Iain is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2019, 12:35 PM   #49
Bill M
Member
 
Bill M's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA Georgia
Posts: 1,591
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
The etching on the blade is consistent with a European trade blade, these were popular astral themes on European blades, the blade is very likely to be 18th century and I think the opposite of something for a highwayman. This is the problem with some of the native classifications, depending when they were compiled they may refer in some cases to locally made blades that were inferior but obviously don't cover very good imports like this one.



I appreciate your inputs, Iain and Edster. The blade, in hand, seems of good quality. Someone on another forum, thought it might have been a German import. There are some markings they thought relevant.

"Good quality" has to be relevant to the society as we know different techniques were made within the sociology/craftsmen of the makers.

A Tibetan sword "hairpin" pamor seems lesser quality to a Chinese sword, different than a Japanese sword, Moro kris, or Indonesian keris.

As noted with the date on the original post that it has been a time sense I have looked at it carefully. Please continue.
Bill M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2019, 04:02 PM   #50
stephen wood
Member
 
stephen wood's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 222
Default

It's a very good one.

I think it's an imported blade with decoration done locally but not necessarily all at the same time. The Arabic script is very well done whereas some of the other motifs are scratched on, which I have come across before.
stephen wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th April 2019, 11:47 PM   #51
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Stephen,

Local vs. foreign blade sources has often been a sticking point in kaskara attributions. Usually local smiths can produce a blade almost indistinguishable from munitions grade German work. I've wondered for a while if Blade Taper could be indicative of whether a kaskara type blade was forged locally or foreign. Bill M's blade has a slight taper throughout its length and then has a shallow "V" at the end and, as you say, would be indicative of foreign origin. I have four kaskara, locally made, that exhibit a steeper taper almost all the way to the end with a steeper point.

Both groups had files, etc. for final shaping of the blade. The difference may be related to the initial steel billet distributed to blade smiths before the forging process begins. European "put-out" systems would have had a more controlled system with more uniform billets that would yield uniform swords, made to contract specifications for length and width than what may have been available to Kassala smiths. Local forgers may have needed a more pronounced taper to achieve the target length with non-uniform billets.

Your thoughts?

Regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th July 2019, 06:12 PM   #52
Edster
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 205
Default

Hello All,

A revised and printable pdf version of the initial thread has been posted on the Ethnographic Arms & Armour Geographical Index, Africa along with similar enhanced versions of the Fullers and Cross-guards monographs. Here's the link:

http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword...ilver_dress.pdf

The new version incorporates comments by Forum members and other materials including an enlarged Pommels section and a commentary on the "Dotted Cross" in relation to the Stars & Comets section.

Thanks to Forum members for their inputs, comments and the use of images from their collections.

Special thanks to Ian Greaves for editing and presenting my initial work suitable for Forum viewing.

Extra special thanks to Lee Jones for additional inputs and for editing and formatting the material into a printable pdf document.

Best regards,
Ed
Edster is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:41 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.