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Old 5th September 2007, 02:07 PM   #1
Tim Simmons
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Thumbs up Fabulous Mausers 98 inspired sword

This is my kind of thing and no doubt a rare find. Looks like the guns that the gorilla soldiers in the film "Planet of the Apes" really Nice chunky handle. Not completely sure what part of German Africa it comes from, the wood suggest a SE area. The blade has come from something pretty big being 63cm long just under 4cm wide. The scabbard is much the same size as wood work on a rifle. The picture looking down on the piece that resembles the palm rest on the real gun stock shows that at one time there was a pretend trigger. Just fascinating. Sorry ethis this just had my name on it.






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Old 5th September 2007, 02:18 PM   #2
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More details.





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Old 5th September 2007, 02:54 PM   #3
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That is so cool, Tim!
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Old 5th September 2007, 04:04 PM   #4
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Thanks Andrew, I must say I am rather excited by it. Looking closely at these two weapons clearly with European inspiration. I am certain the blades are African made. This large weapon blade has to many peculiarity's in its overall shape and cross section to have come from a sword or machete. It is well tempered more so than my Moro kris which has a very similar feel in the hand. This blade is quite heavy with an eliptical section and a back edge.
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Old 5th September 2007, 04:58 PM   #5
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Tim

I saw that one one ebay but could not make out what it was? Once again you did well.


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Old 5th September 2007, 06:22 PM   #6
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Question looking another way

I will be the first to assume this is African. Lets just take a second look. Can any body see a Chinese Doa? Could the dark wood with the forked end be a representation of the gun rest often seen on Tibetan and Chinese, far eastern guns. The Mauser model 98 was widely adopted and the Germans had a protectorate in China. It is not at all impossible that this is from a Sino Tibetan minority? The bi-coloured wood of the handle could also be Asian? Any thoughts?
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Old 5th September 2007, 06:37 PM   #7
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Tim,

I'm prety convinced that this is african, I even think that the metal parts of the hilt are made from the same mauser. I think it could be morrocan or even touareg. This piece is just a wannahave with historical value.
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Old 5th September 2007, 06:46 PM   #8
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i saw that one as well, almost bid, but would have liked more/better pics. if they'd used pics like yours, it would be living with me now
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Old 5th September 2007, 06:51 PM   #9
Jim McDougall
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Incredibly interesting item Tim!
The heavy wood scabbard actually looks very much like a gun stock as found on these heavy rifles, at least to me (not saying that its made out of one, but seems to be emulating that look, as also evidenced by the vestigial trigger presumed). This looks to be an ersatz, probably blacksmith produced machete type weapon, and as suggested most likely from German regions of Africa. One wonders if the weapon was produced to simulate a gun while being carried as a psychological ploy. We know that in African tribal weapons, the imagery is often a key element as seen in the often bizarre designs seen on blades and various elements such as throwing knives etc.

It would seem that German colonial regions in east central Africa or even more southern regions of Dutch colonial posture are most likely for this weapon, which seems of reasonably modern date. Concerning the blade, the exaggerated clipped point/yelman recalls of course the rather dramatic blades we have seen on certain Indian tulwars and even those of the Chinese oxtails brought back from China during the Boxer Rebellion period. Naturally the German presence in China during that time was well established. Either of these influences may have inspired the unusual profile of the blade, and while German trophy might have been the source, so might an early tulwar from the many workers from India who imigrated to these regions of Africa.

Most curious is the inscribed marking near the blade peak at the back which looks like a simplistic and exaggerated trisula, but whether intended as a marking (or the patterning guidelines for the maker) is unclear.

What is the weapon illustrated just above this one ? That too has a pretty interesting scabbard, and the beaked hilt is unusual. Looks like latter 19th century Mexican knives from Northern Mexico.

Just observations and speculation as usual and looking forward to other comments.

All best regards,
Jim

P.S. My first inclination was to classify this a Zambezian flyssa and it does recall the macho custom weaponry of Hollywood i.e. "King Solomons Mines; Michael Douglas "Jewel of the Nile" etc.

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 5th September 2007 at 07:02 PM.
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Old 5th September 2007, 07:01 PM   #10
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South German East African to South African. Obviously the hippos are not old or been well handled like the sword grip. I have seen this type of wood clubs, South Sudan on that Pitt Rivers web site, so any 1900s German influenced East African area.
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Old 6th September 2007, 01:03 AM   #11
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Exactly.
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Old 6th September 2007, 04:11 AM   #12
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very cool
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Old 6th September 2007, 06:19 AM   #13
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I hate to say it Lee, but, if this gets figured out it should replace the Takouba in the viking sword logo . Ethnographic weapons don't get any better than this one.
Well done Tim!
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Old 6th September 2007, 07:00 AM   #14
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Well said Jeff!!!
Ethnographic sword mystery at its best. Cant wait to see if anybody comes up with some more ideas on this one.
Tim done good!
All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th September 2007, 01:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff D
I hate to say it Lee, but, if this gets figured out it should replace the Takouba in the viking sword logo . Ethnographic weapons don't get any better than this one.
Well done Tim!
Jeff

Blasphemy!
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Old 6th September 2007, 01:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
What is the weapon illustrated just above this one ? That too has a pretty interesting scabbard, and the beaked hilt is unusual. Looks like latter 19th century Mexican knives from Northern Mexico.
The hilt also looks like a stylized representation of a M1871 Mauser sword bayonet.
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Old 6th September 2007, 03:51 PM   #17
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Well done Tim....your winning bid matched my maximum so I never even got to be in the bidders list. After seeing your pictures ..I've been kicking myself for not bidding more. Excellent item, it may be a good course of action to contact the Leeds Armoury. I seem to remember seeing a similar example in their collection (shown on TV) I tried to search their site prior to the auction but, there were problems on their web pages. If I had obtained the info I required I would certainly have put up a better 'fight' at auction.

OUCH !!! Just kicked myself .....again
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Old 6th September 2007, 03:58 PM   #18
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Nicely done Berk!!! That looks like exactly what it is!
Tim where did that piece come from? Was it already in your collection?
It looks like Mauser may have had a native edged weapons manufacturing branch in South Central Africa!
Best Regards,
Jim
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Old 7th September 2007, 01:04 PM   #19
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Are we sure this is a representation of a German Rifle? The French Lebel 8mm model of 1886 is also very similar. Issued to the Foriegn Legion it could indicate North Africa. French Indo China could be a possibility, the sword does seem to have Asian characteristics

I would assume that the 'deception' of the sword being a rifle would only be effective if it was seen from distance...suggesting open spaces such as deserts etc. The 'enemy' would need to see the 'rifle' to be decieved in believing that you had 'fire power' which you do not actually have.
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Old 7th September 2007, 04:57 PM   #20
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Very good point David, the Asian origin has been in my mind. I am happy to rule out North Africa as there is a strong history of gun making and trading there. Large parts of East Africa are desert, semi desert, savanna and grasslands so the distant viewing would figure there too. What makes me think it is from E Africa is that many peoples encountered by the Germans had not seen white people before and must have been in awe of there weapons. There may have been some use as a dummy but personally I tend to feel the likeness is more totemic and in a way similar to the mind set of South Seas cargo cults. There is also the similarity of styles and construction and the wood shown all seem to clearly African. It would be fantastic if other examples along these lines were to come out of the wood work but I doubt they will. I will more than happy to eat my words.
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Old 7th September 2007, 07:21 PM   #21
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What a fascinating piece Tim , i am fairly sure, from the figure, colour & growth pattern that the grip is African Blackwood {A form of rosewood not ebony,} Its mostly seen from Ethiopia down to South Africa, especialy around Tanzania & Mozambeque. {Although it does occur in other African zones in smaller quantities.}

its black heart is a very sought after timber, harder & more resiliant than the many types of ebony.



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Old 7th September 2007, 07:44 PM   #22
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Those are excellent observations David, and well placed points. It is always good to see well thought out suggestions and ideas in evaluating the possible provenance and identification of weapons, especially something as unusual as this.
I am inclined to agree with Tim, and am glad he agrees with my suggestions on the possible totemic or symbolic value of this piece. The note on the South Seas cargo cults is well placed, though it does seem amazing that there were tribal groups in Africa this late that had not encountered white explorers. The trade routes and exploration throughout the latter 19th century became more intensive later, but of course it is well known that these African regions still brought the sobriquet 'the dark continent' as so much of the interior was unexplored.
I do think that power symbolism may have been the root of the design of the mounts on this weapon, whether tribal emulation of the understandable fearful guns they experienced with the exposure to Europeans, or even by an adventuresome guide or warrior associated with exploration or trade parties.
In just looking at the effective appearance of this weapon it rather brings to mind the type of altered guns seen in movies such as the sawed off shotguns and holstered rifles that often provided rather dramatic effect in the movies I previously mentioned. In even further retrospect I think of the large ring lever on the guns of "The Rifleman" and Steve McQueens sawed off Winchester (I believe) in "Wanted Dead or Alive". Interestingly such effect has often been employed in so many weapon forms in movies over the years it does no seem at all surprising to think of the same psychological effect being used in the tribal setting as it appeals directly to human nature and senses.

I recall in discussions years ago involving the crocodile mounts on kaskara and some other weapon forms in the Sudan. I suggested that these were quite possibly applied to provide a fearful image to the holder of the weapon, in the totemic sense that he held the power of the crocodile in this case. While there were many suggestions to the contrary that insisted these were simply dramatically stylized pieces made to impress tourists, I felt that this was not the case. Since the practice of slaving was of course well known in the southern Sudan , and incursions further south into regions even as far as those we are considering here, the much feared crocodile would add a very feared image for the individual wearing it.
I just have added this instance to support the concept of what Tim and I have suggested concerning the purpose of the image projected.

An ethnographic weapon that brings forth this much thought and discussion is indeed a treasure! and I hope others will join in as well ! I look forward to more thoughts on the hilt also, what other weapons might have influenced the shape of the mounts?

Tim, can you tell us more on that bayonet looking item posted with this?

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 7th September 2007, 08:21 PM   #23
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Jim there was a thread on the bayonet type weapon I started some years ago. I have looked in the archive but I cannot find it, perhaps I have had one too many. Anyway after dismissing Asia and other places with much supportive evidence German Africa became very apparent. As to not seeing white people in Africa in the 1890s. One has to think of the problems of travel. Vast lands, lack of water, no roads. Very dispersed often small communities that have not been caught in the head light of history like the big names "Massai" that put up resistance untill thier resources could no longer finance war. There are books that tell of this situation. I can see a relation to first contact in the South Seas, only difference is that Africa has always had iron.
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Old 7th September 2007, 08:38 PM   #24
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I have found the thread. Like in the old west it is only the big tribes and thier names that are with us in the 21 century but there were many other groups around, at present this is only just still so in Africa.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...ht=east+africa
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Old 8th September 2007, 01:17 AM   #25
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Thanks Tim, that was a pretty interesting thread that brought in some great discussion. I'm left with the idea that Berk was right in his assessment that the M1871 Mauser sword bayonet was closest, and that this appears to be a locally made interpretation. The scabbard, especially with the spike seems to correspond with the dagger type item on the thread with one on its scabbard. I believe it was suggested to have come from Tanganyika or regions around there.
It is most interesting that there was so much German colonial activity there around WWI and this is an excellent example of much studied wars where there were theaters of action seldom discussed. Returning once again to the movies, I am reminded of "African Queen" and the presence of the German navy in Africa (somebody get the popcorn, here I go again!

Really though, the fact that this interpretation of a Mauser bayonet appears to be from these regions in Africa tends to strengthen the suggestion that this firearm themed sword is also from the same regions.

Best regards,
Jim
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Old 25th October 2007, 09:16 PM   #26
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This link eludes to the first white contact with the Turkana in 1888 so if we bere that in mind also the vastness in late 19th century Africa and other less celebrated groups of people, this weapon strikes me as a very fundamental response to a new world. There is an 88 mauser that could equally be the inspiration. To me the blunt nose is more indicative of the 1888 model
http://www.everyculture.com/Africa-M...Relations.html

Last edited by Tim Simmons; 26th October 2007 at 07:22 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 13th November 2007, 11:33 AM   #27
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This recently finished on eBay....and is very relavent to this thread. Different in that the rifle is integeral to the blade (representing a rifle with fixed bayonet ?) and is not a blade 'hidden' within a 'rifle' scabbard.

Stated as 29" long and from Zimbabwe

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...MEWA:IT&ih=011
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Old 13th November 2007, 07:15 PM   #28
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Very interesting, looks like a model of the Martini rifle. British influence?
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Old 13th November 2007, 07:53 PM   #29
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Beautifully done Katana!!!! Outstanding follow up on this subject. I really enjoyed this thread on a most unusual topic and I'm really glad to see more come up on it.
Thank you so much for posting this.
All the best,
Jim
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Old 13th November 2007, 08:21 PM   #30
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This is the model mauser or carbine version very similar, that I believe the thread starter is based on. Look how the strap fixing comes out from the stock and how the accomadation for the strap is carved in the sword scabbard.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:C...ewehr_1871.jpg
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