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 29th October 2008, 07:11 PM   #1
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 3,943
Default Genuine crusader blade?

http://cgi.liveauctions.ebay.com/ws...alenotsupported
Just ended.
Questions:
-Is it Abyssinian or some other African ?
- Are the markings genuine medieval European?
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2008, 07:19 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
Member
 
Tim Simmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: England UK.
Posts: 5,248
Default

Looks like a standard Kaskara like trade blade to me,19th century. Horn of Africa, Arabian penisula.
Tim Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2008, 07:36 PM   #3
stekemest
Member
 
stekemest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Heidelberg, Germany
Posts: 182
Default

The cross is definately a european symbol which can often be seen on medieval swords, but the quality of the carving is too bad here. While it is not easy to judge an object by pictures only, I don't think this blade is too old.

Peter
stekemest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2008, 08:06 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,684
Default

While looking at this unusual piece, I will say that the blade does seem commensurate with kaskara type trade blades of the 19th century, and that these blades of varying type in degree did enter Abyssinia and across the trade caravan systems of the Sahara.

What is interesting is the deep maker/guild stamp at the forte on this blade, which suggests, along with the seemingly present age pitting, that this might well be from much earlier. Although I have not yet checked into resources on markings, these interesting stamped configurations occur on many European blades from 16th century on, though many are degenerated to being even more indistinct with age and wear.

The cross and orb is indeed a European feature often seen on blades of 17th through 18th century, but as noted, this crude inscribed interpretation is clearly native work, and in imitation of that quality inspired European mark.
The script or calligraphy inscribed, I would say may be of Abyssinian form, but again, have not checked resources.

It seems that the stamped marking resembles earlier Italian types, but of course may be Solingen as well, and again, if Abyssinian provenance here, could be from either. The hilt obviously is much more recent than the blade, and appearing interpretive of earlier typology, may well be regalia intended.

A very intriguing sword, well worthy of further research!

Best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th October 2008, 09:23 PM   #5
RSWORD
Member
 
RSWORD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 857
Default

I had an interest in this piece until the price shot up like it did but I thought the blade intriguing and when looking at zoom shots of the blade felt it very well could be a fairly early blade, maybe 16th or 17th century. The stamped marking had very deep patina and the fuller which runs just halfway down the blade is another configuration found on earlier blades. The marking looked familiar and I think a bit of research should reveal something. The hilt and scabbard appeared 19th century on the close up zooms but atypical but interesting. All in all, I thought it was a very attractive sword.
RSWORD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2008, 06:22 AM   #6
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,684
Default

In checking further in "Armi Bianche Italiene" (L.Boccia & E. Coelho, 1975, Milan), there is further confirmation of these deep stamped markings as seen on the forte (termed 'twig marks' by Sir James Mann, in "Wallace Collections"). These occur in groupings, or singly (also noted Mann, p.255), and are noted as commonly on Italian blades.
While these markings do go back to the early 16th century in some cases, and into the early 17th on rapier blades, these heavier blades are more found on swords such as the schiavona 17th, through the 18th century. Perhaps This blade may be of that period.

The cross and orb, as noted, is taken from both Italian and German versions of 16th and 17th century. The roughly inscribed example on this blade takes the line of the cross through the circle entirely...contrary to most European markings where the line stops halfway at the midpoint of the orb. Again, this simply suggests native application.

I cannot be certain of the script on the blade, but it does appear to be either Ge'ez or very close (to my linguistically untrained eye ) , and I would defer to our linguists on that. I could only identify one repeated letter or fidel which seems Amharic.

The embossed work on the scabbard mounts and hilt resembles some Yemeni weapons I have seen , and contact between these regions and Ethiopia is seen in the influences of a number of swords motif and blades.

Some interesting potential with this one and I hope we get the chance to follow it.


Best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2008, 08:58 AM   #7
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 623
Default

Hello, I am not experienced in the blades, but just to the sword generally:

The only one country, where I saw this type of hilt, was Tunisia -cca three very old swords during three years (not even Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Erithrea, Djibouti or Ethiopia).

My opinion is, the inscription is n o t Amharic or G´eez. (By the way, once I bought nice shamshir with a long Arabic inscription on the blade in gold from both sides. Nobody could read as long as I brought it to one old university professor, he read it and explained me the inscription was made in Northern Africa, whre
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2008, 09:01 AM   #8
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 623
Default

sorry, I continue:

....so the inscription was made in the North Africa, where the craftmen were mostly iliterates at that time....

Regards,

Martin
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2008, 04:16 PM   #9
Mark
Member
 
Mark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 988
Default

I agree that it is not Amharic or Ge'ez, which both use an alphabet that which is vaguely reminischent of the Hebrew alphabet. Found this cool web-site that shows both Amharic & Ge'ez: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/amharic.htm

Of course, I'm not being very helpful in merely confirming what it is not
Mark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th October 2008, 06:01 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,684
Default

Thank you Martin and Mark. Not being a linguist, I was not entirely convinced of this inscription in Ge'ez either, but it did not appear Arabic, nor actually does it seem to conform to any particular 'script'. The suggestion of being applied by illiterate 'craftsmen' is entirely well placed, and seems to correspond to the use of 'Thuluth' motif during the Mahdist period from Sudan and often even as far as Niger.
In viewing the hilt form while researching on this, the more modern (early 20th century) forms of takouba seem to have the tall conical pommel shape, and the crossguard of block form as well seems somewhat similar stylewise. Despite these free associations, I did not feel comfortable suggesting any Tuareg connection, as the hilt on this is certainly not as dimensional and seems more profiled.

I think the note by Martin about several swords of this type in the Tunisia area, or virtually any number of locations along the North African trade port regions. As I mentioned, the work on the mounts seem to resemble Arabic work from Yemen and Hadramaut, and the profound trade between southern Arabia and North Africa really makes this difficult without other known examples to compare.

I think we are on track with the blade though, and still believe it is early, probably late 17th to early 18th century, with the deep stamp suggesting Italian origin. As it seems agreed, the cross and orb and the 'script' seem native applied.

As always, more research!! and in discovering what something is ,often entails finding out what it is not, thus even negative observations are most important in mention I'd really like to figure out where this hilt is from !!

Best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2008, 09:37 AM   #11
Martin Lubojacky
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Czech Republic
Posts: 623
Default

Hello Jim,

I have several Takoubas an Kaskaras, all of them I bought in their countries of origin. When I saw this sword (I mean with exactly the same hilt) in Tunisia, I was hasitating if to buy it or not and I did nit take it from two reasons: first of all it was not complete (without the sheath) and secondly - my feeling - at that time - was, that this kind of hilt was "unnatural" (it is all made fof wood, even the crossguard, covered with copper plates). After the time I changed my opinion, but I did not find the sword again. When some of my friends travel to the South Arabian countries like Yemen etc (unfortunately I heve never been there), I always ask them to make photos of swords in antique shops - you will not find such hilts there.

The mounting of the sheath resembles the mountings on Yemeni Saifs sheaths etc., but this is style has been practised e.g. by Berbers silversmiths on Djerba, too. The motif is cmommon on South - Mediterranean coast (maybe hand of "Chmesa"), also exactly the same ornamental frame you can find on Berber bracelets. The residues of leather strips on the sheath resembles gripping of Takouba (not Kaskara) sheats.

This is just my observation.

Regards,

Martin
Martin Lubojacky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2008, 05:47 PM   #12
katana
Member
 
katana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kent
Posts: 2,653
Default

Interesting sword ......for future reference of this thread, I 've posted a few pictures.

Regards David
.
Attached Images
     
katana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 31st October 2008, 09:13 PM   #13
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
 
Jim McDougall's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,684
Default

Thank you so much David! I'm glad you thought of that, as the ebay photos will disappear, so its good to have these illustrations to maintain the thread for future reference. This is really an unusual piece, and I think it will be good to continue researching, maybe another example might turn up.

Very good points Martin, and I think perhaps the sword might be likely associated more to Berber craftsmanship as you note, and even into Tuareg regions which of course cover vast geotribal areas of the Sahara. The techniques of metalworkers from Arabia or Maghrebi trade regions of course would have close connections. As noted, the tall conical pommel is recognizable as a feature on the takoubas of Niger. The diffusion of these weapons in trade route traffic in either direction makes any defined regional assignment for this piece improbable, unless other like examples are found with provenance.

All best regards,
Jim
Jim McDougall 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 09:06 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, 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.