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Old 20th November 2007, 10:03 PM   #1
xerg
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Default Please help me ID these Chadian daggers.

Hi all. I'm currently on the ground in lovely N'djamena, Chad and picked up a couple of daggers purely because they were aesthetically pleasing and the price was right (I got them both for 9,500CFA from a dude who commenced at 40k).


Here's a few photos taken inside with flash:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2194...f948d8b.jpg?v=0
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2083...81a3f4a.jpg?v=0
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2258...98da2b4.jpg?v=0

[For some reason when I click "insert image" at the top of the page, it pops up an html box. When I put in the link to the images, it doesn't display them in the post. If you click on each link you can follow it to the images, however. How do I inline images? Should I just have to click on the little yellow box with the mountain that says "insert image"? Is there a problem with pics hosted by Flickr? Zuh?]

I'm not sure if you can see, but in the photo with the naked blades, the one on the left has a zig zag pattern etched in around the central fuller.

Like most art merchants, the guy I bought them from swore up and down that they were really REALLY like for really real old and from the region, blah blah blah. The Chadians in particular have a peculiar habit of telling you that EVERYTHING is simply "Chadian" regardless of how it's obviously not Chadian. They also refuse to elaborate beyond an item being just "Chadian"; apparently there are no ethnic groups in Tchad!

The seller (who appeared to be more from the North than the capital region) when pressured eventually named a specific town that sounded like "Gotum Gono" but couldn't name a specific tribe (he just kept repeating "Chadian" and that they came from not far from the capital).

Anyway, the leatherwork honestly doesn't look all that old to me, even though it's a bit damaged. The blades are also in somewhat decent condition. I am a total novice when it comes to weapon stuff, though, so I really don't have much of a clue.

If anyone has any info on these I'd really love to hear it.

Also, on a totally unrelated subject, does anyone know of a good website for learning about how to discriminate between authentically old trade chevrons/millefiores and fakes? Or better yet, a good beading forum that's as helpful, knowledgeable, and heavily trafficked as this one? I've been looking and haven't stumbled on anything useful.

Last edited by xerg : 20th November 2007 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 20th November 2007, 10:20 PM   #2
Emanuel
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Hello again Xerg,

This dagger looks like one from the Peul people, also known as Fulani or Foelbe/Fulbhe: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fula_people

A search of "arm dagger" on this forum will turn up many examples. I have no idea how old they get, but I find the pommel very interesting.

Emanuel
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Old 20th November 2007, 10:24 PM   #3
katana
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Hi Xerg,
this type of dagger are usually called tebu, commonly found around the southern Sahara ( Chad to northern Cameroon and northern areas of Nigeria). But are common to nomad groups from Chad. These vary in quality, the blade IMHO is the 'tell', if the blade is relatively thick and well made then you have a good one. The quality of the leather work/handle seems pretty much the same for a good functional example, as it is for a tourist piece.

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Old 20th November 2007, 10:41 PM   #4
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Hi David,

The Tebu daggers have slightly different blades don't they? They seem to have a double taper, changing about halfway down the blade: http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showp...354&postcount=1 Xerg's examples have a constant taper.
It looks like these daggers are everywhere. Is there a tribe in Central Africa that DOESN"T have some variant of them?

Regards,
Emanuel
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Old 20th November 2007, 11:57 PM   #5
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Hi Emanuel,
the majority I have seen do have the shaped blade you describe.
Some examples..
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=tebu
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=tebu
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...&highlight=tebu

However, I was under the impression that there were local variants in blade shape but, due to handle/pommel characteristics being the same,they were all classed as 'Tebu'

Regards David
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Old 22nd November 2007, 08:21 PM   #6
xerg
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Thanks to both of you for your fast replies! It's so nice to have access to a knowledgeable and responsive community.

I think that what the old man was telling me was that it was a "Goran" dagger, which would dovetail nicely with the Tebu theory since the Tebu are an offshoot of the Goran. Of course, they could very well be have been made by a local Fulani tribe influenced by neighboring Tebu or Goran peoples. The mythology the desert nomad Tebus have surrounding their weapons is certainly cooler, apparently once the steel has been unsheathed it must taste blood before being put away or great harm will befall its owner. If I were an art market guy, that's totally the line I'd be feeding to the foreigner interested in my wares, not that it belonged to some random Fulani heardsman. One can never know for sure!

After another trip to the art market today I've acquired a few more for around the same price. I've heard "Toubou" [French for Tebu] a lot today which indicates that that's probably what they are. I also found some with the blade that tapers at the midpoint, such as the first example. I just wish there was some way to get these art market guys to -honestly- tell me how old the pieces are! They bear signs of obvious wear, but I can't extract any straight answers as to exactly how old. Oh well, I still really like them.

Here are some random things of interest regarding the knives:

I was told that the characteristic three rectangular attachments were for storing pins. When asked what the pins were used for, I got an array of replies ranging from toothpicks to poisoned darts. The latter seems cooler. Knives without the three rectangles are generally said to be home use implements rather than weapons.

It's pretty rare to find them with the armband still attached.

All of the blades are extremely live unless they're too rusted. You could easily cut yourself if you're not careful! Many are in very decent condition.

The pommel is apparently used as a bludgeoning weapon or as an ad hoc hammer for repairs or breaking open coconuts, etc.

The hilt is rounded by wrapping leather over cloth. A few examples I have are missing pieces of the leather. In the exposed parts, you can see the faded West African style batik cloth sticking out. Luckily I'm fairly up on the local fashion and the stuff underneath is totally out of date!

That's about the extent of what I learned.
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Old 1st December 2007, 08:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xerg
Also, on a totally unrelated subject, does anyone know of a good website for learning about how to discriminate between authentically old trade chevrons/millefiores and fakes?

does somebody knows a website who teach ;
- experience, and background

HERE, for sure

how ?
by looking for subjects concerning post concerning tchadian or targui weapons (several) for instance
as well as
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5500
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5548

and also, the complementary .... your way .... in visiting shops, markets and so great opportunity, don't miss it

+

Dom

by the way, your daggers looks very much touristic items
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