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Old 8th June 2006, 12:34 PM   #1
katana
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Question Origins of African Ceremonial long dagger/short sword with aluminium handle?

Newest addition to my collection. This dagger/short sword is relatively sharp, with a dot pattern (serpentine ?) running down the centre of the blade (both sides). Blade 37 cms long, 4cms at widest point, good patination and tempered steel.
The handle (24cms) is aluminium, heavily encrusted with oxidation, it appears that the handle was cast with the blade inserted. The handle was then hand worked, and incised with a 'criss-cross' pattern on the raised banding.
I do not think the scabbard is original to the blade, it fits very well but there is a flap (which is a later addition), which has two leather 'toggle' type straps which secure the handle perfectly. The scabbard has a shoulder strap.

The 'crown' (?) pommel is very interesting, and overall I extremely happy with it . I believe that this was originally made mid 20c, perhaps a little earlier.

ADDITION. Whilst 'playing' with this, I found it was very comfortable to use two hands on the handle, the raised 'points' just above the 'crown' fit between the fingers, the 'crown' fits neatly in the clenched palm (left hand) and gives a lot of control. A two handed short sword???

Can any one help identify this piece or its origins? Also I am reluctant to clean the handle, should I or should I not???
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Old 8th June 2006, 07:28 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
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I would agree this has all the hallmarks of a typical West African knife for general personal use and the presents of aluminium suggests the late 1920s as the earliest date.
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Old 9th June 2006, 01:30 AM   #3
Zan
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I agree with Mr Simmons, but I can't add anything else. It is the first time I seen this pommel pattern, very interesting aquisition !

Sincerely,
Zan
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Old 11th June 2006, 11:28 AM   #4
katana
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Thankyou both, I have a feeling the blade is European. The aluminium (with its oxidation) looks like 'old' metal. I have seen early neglected aluminium, with a similar 'patina'.
'Modern' aluminium seems to have a different appearance when oxidised, perhaps this is due to the differing 'mix' of additive metals, such as magnesium, used to enhance the metal's properties.?

The problem I've still got is whether I should clean/polish the handle and lose the aged look, or to leave it as is?
votes please gentlemen
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Old 13th June 2006, 07:55 PM   #5
Ian
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I vote to leave it as is. You can always polish it later if you want to, but you can never unpolish it.

Ian.
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Old 13th June 2006, 08:47 PM   #6
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Thanks Ian for your advice, I tend to agree with you
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