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Old 2nd August 2009, 10:02 AM   #1
katana
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Default Kaskara for Comment.

Hi,
'picked this up' today. A Kaskara ...the hilt seems to white metal ...the pommel and banding (just before it) seems older than the handle and wiring. (re-hilted probably.) Blade still relatively sharp, single fuller with faint etching which looks to a some sort of pattern with some foliage.

Blade marked with "W. Clauberg Solingen" which is slightly worn, under langet. Under the other langet is a standing knight marking. Out of a number of Kaskara I have handled, this seems to be one of the 'better balanced' versions. Is this a good example. I am assuming the blade is mid 19th C and the fullers look forged.

Please any information or comments gratefully recieved

Thank you
David

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Old 2nd August 2009, 11:56 AM   #2
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Very nice sword never saw one with that type of pommel.

Congrats
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Old 2nd August 2009, 12:05 PM   #3
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Thanks Lew ,
would you have any idea as to the region / tribe that this sword may have originated ?

Regards David
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Old 2nd August 2009, 12:14 PM   #4
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Very Very nice David, Very interesting handle and a rather fine looking blade!
Congratulations. I'd love that one myself.
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Old 2nd August 2009, 01:11 PM   #5
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A fine kaskara - never seen that type of pommel before.

Regards
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Old 2nd August 2009, 02:46 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Wow, nicely done David!
This is a high end piece I would say, from Darfur. It is really unlikely to say what tribes or exact regions at this point, but obviously the Fur are predominant. I will check notes further later tonight, wagons west right now, Fort Stockton Texas in about 350 miles

From what I recall Clauberg was one of the Solingen makers supplying cavalry sabre blades to the U.S. mid 19th century until after Civil War.

It seems I have seen the very decorative pommel in the Kendall notes, and the lozenge pattern of the grip is Darfur, and is found in the Reed article.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 2nd August 2009, 06:21 PM   #7
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Thank you Gene, Colin and Jim ,
I am very pleased with it....and it was quite cheap I bought this from, of all places, a 'boot fair' .....for our non Brits....this is where you load your car with unwanted items, drive to a muddy field with other 'car booters' , set up a stall, wait for the 'customers' and sell your 'wares'.

Imagine my surprise to see this on display .....bearing in mind the current knife/sword laws in the UK

A quick unsuccessful haggle, had me walking around the boot fair without the sword.....left it for around 1 hour....went back with my final offer (well not really , but he believed it was)... which was accepted. I got the distinct impression, that comments by others about the legality of sword sales ... worried the seller....and was very much to my advantage

Very much looking forward to further comments from the books of the 'Wandering Librarian' Thanks Jim

Kind Regards David
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Old 2nd August 2009, 06:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Thank you Gene, Colin and Jim ,
I am very pleased with it....and it was quite cheap I bought this from, of all places, a 'boot fair' .....for our non Brits....this is where you load your car with unwanted items, drive to a muddy field with other 'car booters' , set up a stall, wait for the 'customers' and sell your 'wares'.

Imagine my surprise to see this on display .....bearing in mind the current knife/sword laws in the UK

A quick unsuccessful haggle, had me walking around the boot fair without the sword.....left it for around 1 hour....went back with my final offer (well not really , but he believed it was)... which was accepted. I got the distinct impression, that comments by others about the legality of sword sales ... worried the seller....and was very much to my advantage

Very much looking forward to further comments from the books of the 'Wandering Librarian' Thanks Jim

Kind Regards David
Jeez you were lucky mate! I can't believe you went off and came back an hour later and it was still there????
OMG!
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Old 2nd August 2009, 07:10 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Jeez you were lucky mate! I can't believe you went off and came back an hour later and it was still there????
OMG!
I imagine that few would know it was a 'legitimate' sword, I expect many thought it was a Chinese or Pakistan 'repo' . I didn't notice the makers stamp, till after I had bought it and got it home (due to dirt/rust) .....if I had..... my 60 minutes may have been reduced to 60 seconds

Best
David
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Old 2nd August 2009, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
I imagine that few would know it was a 'legitimate' sword, I expect many thought it was a Chinese or Pakistan 'repo' . I didn't notice the makers stamp, till after I had bought it and got it home (due to dirt/rust) .....if I had..... my 60 minutes may have been reduced to 60 seconds

Best
David
Well, all I can say is WELL DONE MATE!
As someone who spends every sunday trawling every boot sale I can find I know just what a special day it is when you find something like this.
Its a real 'once in a blue moon' event! Good on ya bud.

Best
Gene
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Old 2nd August 2009, 09:41 PM   #11
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That is a very nice example Katana! congratulations!

The hilt is extraordinary! Are you sure that it is not overcleaned silver? It does not look like silver, but such a nice workmanship would deserve it to be silver.

Kaskaras are becoming more and more popular over the years. Once there was a lot of them for sale on ebay, but nowadays it is quite hard to buy one, certaily impossible to buy a nice one.

In my collection i have just one kaskara, nothing in comparison to yours, and I've opened a new thread to show it. A new thread, because your sword simply deserves a separate thread.

WELL DONE!
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Old 2nd August 2009, 11:53 PM   #12
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Congratulations David, this Sudanese saif is as nice as they get. I remember a thread by S. Al-Anzi a few years ago about the bazaar in Riyadh, where he claimed that the Clauberg blades with the knight marking were and still are the most valued blades of all. I would guess Clauberg blades enjoyed the same popularity in the Sudan as on the Arab peninsula - they reached both via the ports of Egypt and Cairo.
This would suggest that your sword belonged to someone with the means of affording such a valued blade, most likely someone of relatively high ranking, which is also evidenced by the nice hilt.
A truly great find! Regards,
Teodor
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Old 3rd August 2009, 01:32 AM   #13
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Hello David,
first congratulation to this real fantastic Kaskara, a real treasure.
To determine the age it maybe help to know the following.
Wilhelm Clauberg AG, Waffen-&Stahlwarenfabrik in the Gasstrasse in Solingen, was one of the nine Solingen weapon makers. This manufactory was founded in 1810. First they had two marks, an arrow and a standing knight like yours. 1850 Cornelius StŁrmer aquired a new mark, which was a "pipe" and up 1872 this mark was registred as Clauberg mark. So your blade must be before 1872, but I think it's before 1850.
I also have a Clauberg Kaskara blade. The interesting thing here is, that there a nice Takuba handle is mounted. It seems to be an original mounting, but never before I saw a Kaskara blade together with a Takuba handle. I try to post it next weekend.
I hope it helps.
Best
Wolf
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Old 3rd August 2009, 08:12 AM   #14
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Maybe that is a Takouba with a replaced crossguard....
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Old 3rd August 2009, 08:46 PM   #15
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Valjhun,Teodor and Wolf,
thank you for your kind words and informative posts Was 'very pleased'..... but now, after the extra information you have provided, I am now 'extremely pleased' to have this sword in my collection.

I may get the hilt/pommel checked for silver content. Is there a non-destructive test for silver ?

Kind Regards David
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Old 3rd August 2009, 11:07 PM   #16
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David, the more I look at this beauty, the more I realize what a significant piece it is, and profoundly a Darfur example, clearly for someone of position and means. The silverwork on this is very characteristic of such swords, and I have seen swords attributed to Ali Dinar, one of the last Sultans of Darfur and his court and associated weapons with similar. Some of these can be seen in Anthony North's "Introduction to Islamic Swords", a nicely done monograph with some great photos.

I did not find the sword I had hoped for in the documents I mentioned, however despite the unique striated cushion type disc pommel (which is contrary to the usual discoid) , the domed pommel cap also characteristic to Darfur examples is present. The faceted capstan is especially nice.
It is important to note the profound Islamic styling in the Darfur hilts, which reflect the influences that keenly reflect Arabian influences, probably from the Maghreb and possibly the Senussi. I would defer more on that detail to those more versed in religious aspects of Darfur, but it seems I recall that Ali Dinar was associated with the Senussi following of the Muslim Faith.

While this sword, and the kaskara in general, have little to do with takoubas, I believe there may be some influence in that symbol from Tuareg regions.
The takouba, though often using European broadsword trade blades, remains distinctly its own form, from the elements and design of the hilt, its components and materials..to the broadsword blades with consistantly rounded tips, in my opinion quite possibly from Omani blades on kattaras seen in westward Saharan trade routes. The feature may have derived from early European blades as well, which also often had these type tips, and perhaps effected the Oman kattaras in the same way.

Wolf, thank you so much for adding the detail on Clauberg, outstanding information!


All best regards,
Jim
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Old 4th August 2009, 08:00 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
David, the more I look at this beauty, the more I realize what a significant piece it is, and profoundly a Darfur example, clearly for someone of position and means. The silverwork on this is very characteristic of such swords, and I have seen swords attributed to Ali Dinar, one of the last Sultans of Darfur and his court and associated weapons with similar. Some of these can be seen in Anthony North's "Introduction to Islamic Swords", a nicely done monograph with some great photos.

I did not find the sword I had hoped for in the documents I mentioned, however despite the unique striated cushion type disc pommel (which is contrary to the usual discoid) , the domed pommel cap also characteristic to Darfur examples is present. The faceted capstan is especially nice.
It is important to note the profound Islamic styling in the Darfur hilts, which reflect the influences that keenly reflect Arabian influences, probably from the Maghreb and possibly the Senussi. I would defer more on that detail to those more versed in religious aspects of Darfur, but it seems I recall that Ali Dinar was associated with the Senussi following of the Muslim Faith.


All best regards,
Jim


"Bravo Holmes" ( ) ,
excellent information Jim, thank you. The pommel is indeed an enigma, ALL the examples I can find have the usual 'discoid' shape. I now have some avenues of research to follow, hopefully I can discover further information.

Kind Regards David
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Old 4th August 2009, 11:02 PM   #18
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Nice one, David. You're on a roll what with rhino clubs and fancy kaskaras

Any chance of the pommel being a later marriage from some other piece, like say...a dha?

I've seen this type of handle on kaskara but not the domed/onion pommel. Almost all of the kaskara I've seen have the drum pommel. Any other examples of this onion variety?

Cheers,
Emanuel
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Old 4th August 2009, 11:36 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
I may get the hilt/pommel checked for silver content. Is there a non-destructive test for silver ?

Kind Regards David
Well, its not very scientific, but I tend to go on the 'look' and the colour of the oxidisation/patina.
A good silver will oxidise almost black, and seeing as the common mix seems to often be high in copper, the oxidisation will have a more brown colour. Less black less silver as a rule.
But like I say, not exactly scientific
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Old 5th August 2009, 01:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Atlantia
Well, its not very scientific, but I tend to go on the 'look' and the colour of the oxidisation/patina.
A good silver will oxidise almost black, and seeing as the common mix seems to often be high in copper, the oxidisation will have a more brown colour. Less black less silver as a rule.
But like I say, not exactly scientific


Gene, thats a lot more scientific than my good ole magnet method!

Thanks so much Watson!! David,
The pommel has me puzzled as well, but seems very familiar, and cant figure from where I have seen this shape. It seems I have seen such pommels of either striated or gadrooned flattened oval shape possibly on swords hilted in Yemen in about the turn of the century, if I recall some with Amharic inscribed trade blades. These Ethiopian blades I understand found thier way to Arabia along with the rhino horn hilts, much in demand there, and transported there where they were dismantled.

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 5th August 2009, 04:29 PM   #21
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Hi Jim ,
Regards the pommel....AFAIK the Fur Sultans wore turbans, could the pommel be a representation of the Sultans headgear ?? (It is likely that his turban would be 'different' to the masses and therefore 'symbolic' to him)) I have tried to find images of various Fur Sultans without success.

Hi Emanuel ,
very lucky indeed with two of my latest additions But, hopefully my recent good fortune will encourage others.... there are still hidden treasures out there .....'waiting'

I think that it is unlikely that the pommel is SEA ... but you never know

Hi Gene,
the 'silver' furniture is overly polished, but wiping paper tissue over the various parts did give blackish marks on the tissue.....so could be promising.

All the best
David
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Old 7th August 2009, 10:18 AM   #22
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Hi all- I'm a long-time lurker, but actually registered specifically to post on this thread...

As Jim McDougall said, the Fur sultans, and particularly Ali Dinar, spring to mind.

At university, I was fortunate enough to handle (longingly!) Ali Dinar's ceremonial kaskara, which an alumnus had taken back as loot in 1916. An exceptionally poor image of it can be found on p37 of this brochure: http://www.dur.ac.uk/resources/unive...tyBrochure.pdf

You can just make out the interlinking-diamond-shaped pattern beaten into the silver/silver alloy of the handle. While there are differences- cross guards and pommel especially- a tentative attribution of Katana's kaskara to Ali Dinar's court and era seems reasonable.

The Solingen blade is interesting, as Ali Dinarís effects also included an Austrian (that is, K&K stamped) pistol, reworked by, presumably, a local silversmith. Evidently, there was a working trade route for high-status weapons between the WW1 Triple Alliance and Ali Dinarís court.

It might be worth contacting the Sudan Archive at Durham, by the way. They sell photo reproductions of many of the images in the collection, and of photos taken in 1916. Imagine if one of them showed a grinning squaddie brandishing a familiar-looking souvenir...

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Old 7th August 2009, 08:12 PM   #23
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Hi Rumpel ,
Welcome to the forum ... and thank you for taking the trouble to join the forum, to add your helpful and informative comments.

I will try and contact the Sudan Archive at Durham to see if they can provide further information.

The pommel design really has me stumped .......but I do enjoy the occasional 'mystery'

Kind regards David
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Old 7th August 2009, 08:38 PM   #24
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...the pommel ends in something very similar to what we would expect to see on an arm dagger.
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Old 8th August 2009, 06:21 PM   #25
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Interesting article on Sultan Ali Dinar battle with the British in 1916 ...

http://www.kaiserscross.com/188001/224322.html

Hi Stephen ,
yes, I too have noticed the similarities to the finials ....the faceted type especially. Nice daggers ..... not in competition with Lew are we ....I think he has the monopoly on arm daggers

Regards David


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Old 9th August 2009, 01:02 AM   #26
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the last weekend I promised to show another W.Clauberg blade, but mounted with a southern Takuba handle. It is definitily an old mounting. For me it is very curious because first the Tuareg never have such Arabic calligraphy on their blades (or have somebody one?), second the tip is always round and at least normal shorter then Kaskaras. My longest Takuba is 98 cm. This Kaskara/Takuba - I call it "Kaskuba" - measure 1,12 m, a little bit longer, than my longest Kaskara.
Also one addition to the Clauberg mark. I was wrong when I said I believe before 1850. I found a book with all marks from Solingen sword producers.
The book say this standing knight was used the first time in 1850, not before.

Regards Wolf

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Old 9th August 2009, 02:26 PM   #27
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Hi Wolf,
very nice.... a fantastic 'Kaskuba' .......excellent photography .
The obvious possibility is a traded / captured blade ....very nice hilt.
I wondered about the 'balance' of the sword ....many seem to have a light-weight hilt/pommel (with thin light blades)....with the longer length of blade / weight this would be a problem ....has the hilt/pommel been weighted to overcome this ?
Wolf this sword deserves a seperate posting

Kind Regards David
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Old 9th August 2009, 03:06 PM   #28
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Wolf, could I bother you for a close up of the mark on the fourth blade from the right ?

Could it be this mark ?
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Old 9th August 2009, 06:13 PM   #29
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David, traded or captured blade would be a possibility, but I'm wondering that such traditional people like the Tuareg could have done so.
The 'balance' of the sword is okay, not perfect but okay. But I believe it was more used for ceremonial purpose, not for fighting, because the edges are not sharp. The third Kaskara from the right have a very very similar blade, same size, same calligraphy, no sharp edges, same half moons on the blade. Only the Clauberg stamp is missing, mayby under the crossguard. I think is not special weighted, but not sure. The balance point is nearly 1/3 to 2/3, sure near to the handle, so I think it's okay.

Rick, attached our two marks. As you can see a little bit different. Unfortunately I couldn't find any of them in all my books. Maybe someone from the forum can help....

Best
Wolf

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Old 9th August 2009, 08:52 PM   #30
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ahhhh....I forgot to show another Kaskara with an unusual Pommel. You can find it in AMNH and I think collected in 1914/15 in Egypt.
So maybe a Sudanese Kaskara was taken by Mamluk warriors of Ottoman Egypt and convert with such a handle in a Mameluke weapon. Only a thought.
There you also find this special headdress.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali_of_Egypt

Wolf
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