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Old 30th May 2023, 06:58 PM   #1
Yvain
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Default West African dagger

Hi all !


I bought this nice dagger this weekend, however, I'm having some questions regarding its origin.


Indeed, most collectors would consider it to be an Hausa dagger, and similar pieces are described as such in many private online collections.


However, while doing some research, I found some very similar pieces in the Quai Branly collections described as being from Cameroon (either from the Fulbe or Bamoun ethnic group), as you can see here :


-https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explorer-les-collections/base/Work/action/show/notice/219464-couteau


-https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explorer-les-collections/base/Work/action/show/notice/220803-couteau-et-fourreau


-https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explorer-les-collections/base/Work/action/show/notice/219465-couteau-et-fourreau


-https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explorer-les-collections/base/Work/action/show/notice/220804-couteau-et-fourreau


-https://www.quaibranly.fr/fr/explorer-les-collections/base/Work/action/show/notice/241813-couteau-et-gaine


So, Hausa, Fulbe, or Bamoun ? Niger and Nigeria or Cameroon ? Or maybe this is a style that spanned multiple ethnic groups and geographical areas ?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts !
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Old 31st May 2023, 02:28 AM   #2
Araña_del_Sol
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Hi,

These types of daggers are usually attributed to the Hausa people (Nigeria, Niger, Chad, etc.) but could also conceivably have been used by the Fulbe due to their close association with the Hausa, at least in Nigeria. The Bamum people interacted with the Fulbe in the 19th and 20th centuries so the transfer of these daggers to them also makes sense. In short, the attributions the seller made for this dagger are possible but these daggers are usually referred to as being of the Hausa.

Examples:
http://www.vikingsword.com/lew/w0048/w0048.html
https://ertribal.com/index.php/triba...-dagger-sheath

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Old 31st May 2023, 07:10 AM   #3
TVV
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Nice dagger, looks like an older example from the first half of the 20th century or even earlier. I have also wondered about the origin of these daggers. The leatherwork on yours looks like the Bamoun example in Quai Branly, and very much like something coming from what is today Northern Cameroon.

But here are my examples, or more modern vintage, with leatherwork that may be found in a wide area of Western Africa. Seems like certain styles traveled far and wide.

On older examples there may be museum records which show where something was collected, but even then it is hard to say with absolute degree of certainty whether it is Hausa, or Fulani (from the Sokoto Caliphate) or Kanuri.
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Old 1st June 2023, 06:21 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you!


A popular style spanning multiple countries, but with regional particularities does makes sens. Since the examples in the Quai Branly collection were collected in situ, I'm going with the Bamoun attribution.


TVV, your examples are interesting too, the red and black sheath is very similar to some Tebu sheathes in my opinion.
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Old 4th June 2023, 08:37 PM   #5
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Quai Branly is a great resource, but even they make mistakes sometime, like here for example:

https://www.quaibranly.fr/en/explore...4-sabre-courbe
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Old 5th June 2023, 07:25 PM   #6
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi, Just for fun I am attaching a picture of a dagger I bought cca in 2009 in a small town, or rather village Rhumsiki in the Mandara mountains in northern Cameroon. I believe the dagger was newly made at that time. The similar shape of the blade (to Yvain dagger)and the decoration on the scabbard shows how different ethnic groups or individual knife makers interact and intermingle. Rhumsiki is supposed to be inhabited by the Kapsiki ethnic group, but that certainly does not mean that it was made by a blacksmith from the Kapsiki tribe. I'm sure many ethnic groups meet there...
Unfortunately I don't have the dagger with me, so I'm attaching an old group photo where I circled it.
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