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Old 25th February 2024, 07:36 PM   #1
Pertinax
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Default Another Afar gile

A new Afar gile has arrived with a bone handle of a not quite classic shape, without a cone. The blade was a little disappointing, but considering the little money I paid, I'm pleased.
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Old 26th February 2024, 11:15 AM   #2
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Hello Pertinax,

I really like your Afar gile, it shows a lot of use and a very nice patination and good preserved, I guess that you gave it some care.
A truly ethnographic knife for low money, congrats!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th February 2024, 02:16 PM   #3
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Hello Detlef

And this Afar gile has been in my collection for two years now

Regards, Yuri
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Old 26th February 2024, 02:48 PM   #4
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And this Afar gile has been in my collection for two years now.
Hello Juri,

Could it be that you bought it from me?

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 26th February 2024, 07:59 PM   #5
Martin Lubojacky
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Hello, your new gile is nice, some might say juice of Afarland... Isnt the handle made of wood ?
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Old 26th February 2024, 08:32 PM   #6
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I really like your new gile Yuri. The blade may have been ground aggressively, but the fittings are very nice. Are you sure the hilt is bone? Is it possible that it may be some kind of horn?
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Old 26th February 2024, 08:52 PM   #7
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Hello Juri,

Could it be that you bought it from me?

Regards,
Detlef
No Detlef, I first bought the Gile without the sheath, it was in very bad condition. Spent a lot of time and got it in order. About a year later I managed to find a scabbard for it. This is the result of all my work.:п
Regards, Yuri
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Old 26th February 2024, 09:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky View Post
Hello, your new gile is nice, some might say juice of Afarland... Isnt the handle made of wood ?
Hello Маrtin

No, it's definitely not a tree. Is this juice of Afarland?

Regards, Yuri
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Old 26th February 2024, 09:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV View Post
I really like your new gile Yuri. The blade may have been ground aggressively, but the fittings are very nice. Are you sure the hilt is bone? Is it possible that it may be some kind of horn?
Thanks TVV

I began to carefully study the handle and now Iím not sure that it is bone. But I'm confused by the cracks on the back of the handle. Could such cracks appear on the horn handle? My knowledge is not enough.

Regards, Yuri
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Old 27th February 2024, 09:37 AM   #10
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Pertinax, I can say with some confidence that the hilt in your first post is not bone. My guess is wood (or perhaps horn)--the grain/fibrous nature is quite pronounced. Perhaps others more familiar with horn in that area can give you a more specific answer.
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Old 27th February 2024, 12:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pertinax View Post
No Detlef, I first bought the Gile without the sheath, it was in very bad condition. Spent a lot of time and got it in order. About a year later I managed to find a scabbard for it. This is the result of all my work.:п
Regards, Yuri

Hi Yuri,

It looks very similar to one I sold via ebay some time ago.

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 27th February 2024, 07:11 PM   #12
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Very nice Gile! It has some rustic charm, and the leatherworking near the mouth of the scabbard and the wire in the handle give it a lot of character
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Old 27th February 2024, 08:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Pertinax, I can say with some confidence that the hilt in your first post is not bone. My guess is wood (or perhaps horn)--the grain/fibrous nature is quite pronounced. Perhaps others more familiar with horn in that area can give you a more specific answer.
Hello Ian,

Looks like some sort of blonde horn to my eyes!

Regards,
Detlef
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Old 28th February 2024, 02:02 AM   #14
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Hi Detlef,

I'm inclined to agree, although rhino or giraffe horn would be exceedingly uncommon on a gile. If it is either of those horns, the value of the knife increases considerably. The cracks seen at the butt end can be found on horn that has dried out, and then cleaved along longitudinal lines in its structure. The same is true for wood of course. I suspect the material needs some TLC with application of a light oil to improve its state of hydration, and perhaps close those cracks a bit.

Pertinax, if this is horn you have a valuable piece.
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Old 28th February 2024, 05:52 AM   #15
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I believe we can see a knot from branch at the location indicated and that it is therefore wood
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Old 28th February 2024, 12:54 PM   #16
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ML, you could be correct. Hard to say. What you have circled is a small hole in the hilt that is darker than the surrounding area. This looks like a fairly old and much used hilt, and I think it would take a careful direct inspection to know exactly what the hilt is made from. Maybe even a hot wire in a discreet area to see if it smelled like burning wood or hair.
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Old 28th February 2024, 03:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky View Post
I believe we can see a knot from branch at the location indicated and that it is therefore wood
Martin you're right.

I took a hot needle and conducted an experiment on the handle. To my regret it turned out to be a tree. How I wished it was a horn or a bone! But I wasnít too upset, gile is very interesting and worthy.

Regards, Yuri
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Old 28th February 2024, 09:34 PM   #18
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Yuri,You've got nice and typical gile.
From my point of view, what is valued in these objects is their originality, the fact that they bear signs of daily use, patina and at the same time preservation. They may not be very old, but they are real, genuine "artifacts". These "everyday use" objects age quickly and even acquire patina quickly in Africa. Also it is not easy to discern true age of gile - two versions, which already differ in the decoration on the handle due to changes in taste or availability of decorative materials, and between which there is e.g.a difference of perhaps twenty years, have almost the same patina. But that doesn't bother the gile. They are still in use, at least as part of the costume.

As for the material for the handle, I believe that the Afars and Issa and similar groups have always used wood for the handle. The exception to this are those large and considerably heavier knives with a rounded blade tip, similar to a gile, but which have a slightly different blade shape and different sheaths. In these, the handles are indeed mostly rhinoceros horn and often have a silver pommel. However, these have certainly not been made for somme time and are disproportionately rarer. The question, in my opinion, is whether these were the weapons actually used by the Afars ("Danakils"), because even in old photos from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the true Afar gile have a basically contemporary appearance. I think that these large knives with rhino handles may have been used by elders of some Oromo groups sharing an environment with the Afars, their neighbours. I'm afraid no one is able to satisfactorily explain this today.

Martin
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Old 28th February 2024, 10:51 PM   #19
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Thank you Martin
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Old 28th February 2024, 10:57 PM   #20
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Agree here with Martin, your new gile is a real beauty in view of an artefact which was long time in use.
I like your gile equal if the handle is from horn or from wood!
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Old 29th February 2024, 12:12 AM   #21
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Yuri,

As others have stated, your gile is hardwood, probably the same type of wood as these Sudanese arm daggers where the wood has a pronounced grain structure. Horn ones are not very common. Here is a gile that is composed of such. It is somewhat older with metal alloy spacers and pommel cap. Apologies for the poor photo quality, these were taken a number of years ago now and I do not have the items on hand at the moment.

-Geoffrey
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Old 29th February 2024, 08:39 AM   #22
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I would like to correct myself, I got carried away by what I personally call "classic afaraks".

There are, of course, other groups of purely Afar knives, which are also called gile, but they are shorter and often have a T-shaped handle. In these cases, the handle is often made of segments of horn and metal, it can also be only horn, or only aluminum or brass. These knives can be of medium size or even very small.

There is also a group of Afar like knives with bulbous pommel, which I believe belong to afarised Oromos from the north-eastern part of Ethiopia....

Let me apologize a lot for that my important omission. (this could be for longer discussion...)

Herewith I am attaching some (already older) ilustration pictures, also to the previously mentioned texts.
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Old 29th February 2024, 08:58 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G. Mansfield View Post
Yuri,

As others have stated, your gile is hardwood, probably the same type of wood as these Sudanese arm daggers where the wood has a pronounced grain structure. Horn ones are not very common. Here is a gile that is composed of such. It is somewhat older with metal alloy spacers and pommel cap. Apologies for the poor photo quality, these were taken a number of years ago now and I do not have the items on hand at the moment.

-Geoffrey
Thank you Geoffrey for your comment
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Old 29th February 2024, 09:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky View Post
I would like to correct myself, I got carried away by what I personally call "classic afaraks".

There are, of course, other groups of purely Afar knives, which are also called gile, but they are shorter and often have a T-shaped handle. In these cases, the handle is often made of segments of horn and metal, it can also be only horn, or only aluminum or brass. These knives can be of medium size or even very small. ...
Very nice Martin collection, congratulations!

Regards, Yuri
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Old 29th February 2024, 12:11 PM   #25
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Yuri,
these are copies of photographs that are in a museum in Harar, Ethiopia. I'd say they're from, like, 1920s (?).

Best,
Martin
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Old 29th February 2024, 05:35 PM   #26
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Quote:
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Yuri,
these are copies of photographs that are in a museum in Harar, Ethiopia. I'd say they're from, like, 1920s (?).

Best,
Martin
More photos from the Internet

Regards, Yuri
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