Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A Couople of Sudanese Swords (Kaskara) for Comment (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23900)

TVV 5th May 2018 06:13 PM

A Couople of Sudanese Swords (Kaskara) for Comment
 
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I just received a couple of Sudan hilted swords with interesting blades. The one with the longer blade and the better preserved (newer) scabbard measures 40(101.6 cm) inches overall with hilt outside of the scabbard with the blade alone of 35 and 1/4 inches (89.5 cm), and weighs 2lbs 1 oz. (944 grams). The blade is stamped with the number 1857 at the base, once on one side and twice on the other, and has two fullers decorated with imitation script.

Similar blades in other threads have been attributed to Eritrea.

TVV 5th May 2018 06:29 PM

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The second, shorter sword is more interesting. Its scabbard has not been preserved as well, but it is much better made. The hilt is longer, but the blade is shorter: the entire sword outside of the scabbard measures 38 inches (96.5 cm), the blade is 32 inches (81.3 cm) and the sword weighs 1 lbs. 14 oz. (851 grams). It is a European made blade exported to Abyssinia, with the Abyssinian lion crest at the base of the blade on one side and a "knight" mounted figure with sword on the other. There is writing in block letters underneath, but it is hard to make out, I believe the one under the lion is "EMPTOIR EUROPE", and I have no idea for the writing under the knight. The blade has one fuller with the typical floral motives on blades intended for Abyssinia along with images of a native warrior with spear and shield and the knight figure again.

The blade looks like it was modified from its original shape - it kind of looks like a curved sabre blade may have been straightened and flattened. Could it be a Mahdist trophy from the battle of Gallabat? There must have been a good number of Abyssinian blades captured following the fortuitious Mahdist victory and subsequently re-mounted, but until this one I have not really seen that many examples. It is also interesting that this sword has the simple Sudan steel guard, whereas the one with the "Eritrean" blade has a bigger guard with flaring quillons, usually ascribed to Darfur.

Where do you think these swords and their blades are from?

Teodor

TVV 6th May 2018 06:19 PM

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I think I solved the origin of the Ethiopian blade: it was from a gurade, probably produced in France (based on the French writing at the base of the blade). Here is a link to an example in Oriental Arms sold archive with an identical blade:

http://oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2526

Does anyone know who the manufacturer was and when were these made?

Kubur 6th May 2018 06:57 PM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
I think I solved the origin of the Ethiopian blade: it was from a gurade, probably produced in France (based on the French writing at the base of the blade).
Does anyone know who the manufacturer was and when were these made?


The one of Oriental Arms has a pommel with a silver coin Maria Theresa dollar (Archiduch Austria Dux) from 1780. I can read Comptoir europeen acier superieur, but I found nothing about this factory.
Look at this famous French arms trader...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Rimbaud#Abyssinia_(1880%E2%80%931891)

Iain 9th May 2018 07:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TVV
I think I solved the origin of the Ethiopian blade: it was from a gurade, probably produced in France (based on the French writing at the base of the blade). Here is a link to an example in Oriental Arms sold archive with an identical blade:

http://oriental-arms.com/photos.php?id=2526

Does anyone know who the manufacturer was and when were these made?


There were a number of arms dealers who imported large quantities of blades into Abyssinia. Perhaps the most notable being the Terzian family. Usually their name was engraved on these blades. I can't quite make out the writing under the lion of Judah on this one.

Edster 9th May 2018 12:25 PM

Here is a site for a similar sword with a German blade from Rubylane dealer and an ID of the "G.G" mark. "GESETZLICH GESCHUETZT stamp. This means "protected by law" and is a trademark stamp." Apparently, many blade makers used the mark.

https://www.rubylane.com/item/61838...lik-II-Imperial

Here is a discussion from another forum.
http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sh...ify-my-swords-1

Hope this helps.

TVV 9th May 2018 05:36 PM

Iain and Ed, thank you for your responses. I believe the writing is the same as on the Oriental Arms sold gurade, in which case it would be "Comptoir Europeen" under the lion of Judah and "Acier Superein" under the St. George image on the other side. Neither point to a maker or dealer.

Does anyone know if the Lion of Judah was used by the Solomonic dynasty, starting with Menelik II, or if it was used by the preceding dynasties as well? I suspect the blade was produced during Menelik II's reign, and if so, that would place it most likely in the early 20th century and certainly after the famous battles of Gallabat and Adwa.

Teodor


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