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Old 3rd June 2020, 10:12 PM   #1
RSWORD
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Default Seeking translation assistance on African Kaskara blade

Was hoping someone might be able to translate the inscription that is found on both sides of the blade of this Kaskara. Many thanks in advance for the assistance. I have a couple of pictures of each side in case one is better/easier to view.
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Old 4th June 2020, 01:19 AM   #2
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That’s a freaking beauty!
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Old 4th June 2020, 10:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
That’s a freaking beauty!



Agreed, the engraving/etching is way way better than usual on these.
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Old 5th June 2020, 02:04 PM   #4
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Thank you and I agree on both points. I am hopeful someone will be able to offer some translation assistance because this inscription is much better than typically found.
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Old 5th June 2020, 09:54 PM   #5
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It’s inscribed with verses from al-Busiri‘s Qasidat al-Burda (Ode of the Mantle), a poem in praise of the Prophet, popular all over the Islamic world.

There‘s the name of the maker too, though your photos don‘t show the whole of that part of the inscription. It ends with “... Ibrahim Ahmad” followed by what looks like the date 1202/1787-8, though this isn’t very clearly written and that would be a very early for a piece of this type I gather

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Old 5th June 2020, 10:37 PM   #6
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This is not a very idiomatic translation, but the verses from al-Burda roughly say:

“God’s protection has no need of reinforced armour or high fortresses.

Whenever time tried to harm me and I sought refuge in Him, I received shelter from Him that could not be harmed.”
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Old 6th June 2020, 12:19 PM   #7
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Beautiful blade in the Khor or Channel style fuller. The 1787 date is intriguing and perhaps related to the Funj Kingdom. The crossguard appears to be of the Sennar style said to originate in the city of Sennar, the capital of the Funj. The blade likely is European although that type of fuller was made in Ethiopia. Check around the top of the blade under the lower langet of the crossguard for any blade maker's marks. You may have a very special sword. Not many are documented from such an early date.

Best regards,
Ed
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Old 6th June 2020, 02:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
It’s inscribed with verses from al-Busiri‘s Qasidat al-Burda (Ode of the Mantle), a poem in praise of the Prophet, popular all over the Islamic world.

There‘s the name of the maker too, though your photos don‘t show the whole of that part of the inscription. It ends with “... Ibrahim Ahmad” followed by what looks like the date 1202/1787-8, though this isn’t very clearly written and that would be a very early for a piece of this type I gather


Thank you very much for the translation. The blade may very well, in addition to the inscription, be 18th century. While rare, it is not out of the realm of possibility. The poem is really nice. I have added pictures of the missing area in the holes the name is more visible but wasn’t sure which end of the inscription so have pictures of all 4. Thanks very much for the translation and having an additional look at these, hopefully, better pictures of the missing portion.
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Old 6th June 2020, 02:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edster
Beautiful blade in the Khor or Channel style fuller. The 1787 date is intriguing and perhaps related to the Funj Kingdom. The crossguard appears to be of the Sennar style said to originate in the city of Sennar, the capital of the Funj. The blade likely is European although that type of fuller was made in Ethiopia. Check around the top of the blade under the lower langet of the crossguard for any blade maker's marks. You may have a very special sword. Not many are documented from such an early date.

Best regards,
Ed


Thank you for the information Ed. I had a look beneath the langet and there are no makers marks. The blade is very nice quality and could be an European import. I agree this is a nice early date for a Kaskara and I am very happy to have it in my collection.
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Old 6th June 2020, 03:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
the date 1202/1787-8, though this isn’t very clearly written and that would be a very early for a piece of this type I gather


I wish to have it in my collection too

I agree with Kwiatek the date is too early for a sword of this type.

It's not the date of the sword but rather a commemorative date, please look at this forum you will see other examples with commemorative dates...


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date
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Old 6th June 2020, 04:08 PM   #11
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Kubur's note of the commemorative quality of the inscription and date (1787) has historical merit. Here's a quote from a Wiki article on the Hamaj Regency who essentially controlled the Funj Kingdom.

"Rajab's campaign in 1785 marked the end of attempts by the Hamaj to control Kordofan, which was soon after (1787) conquered by the Keira Sultanate of Darfur, which thereafter exercised effective control over all of the territory west of the White Nile. the beginning of the loss of territory to the Funj state which culminated, in 1821, with the sultans and regents controlling little outside the city of Sennar itself.[8]

More on the Hamaj of the Funj
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamaj_Regency

While it may be an historical stretch, the sword may have been made in Ali Dinar's workshop in Darfur (c. 1898-1900) to commemorate his ancestors control of Kordofan and maybe his right to control it after the fall of the Mahdiya.
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:32 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Kubur]I wish to have it in my collection too

I agree with Kwiatek the date is too early for a sword of this type.

It's not the date of the sword but rather a commemorative date, please look at this forum you will see other examples with commemorative dates...


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...memorative+date[/QUOT

It could be a commemorative date but typically these are found in conjunction with blades that couldn’t bear that date. Two of the three examples you share are typical late 19th century Mahdist blades with acid etched inscriptions. An 18th century dating would definitely not make sense on a blade of this style and quality. The other sword you reference only has a fuller for the first third of the blade and the inscriptions are poorly done plus the fly marking is fairly dateable. Again, an 18th century dating would not make sense.

On my example, the blade could be 18th century. The fuller which runs the full length of the blade on both sides is very precisely cut and the inscription is done with a high level of skill. You see this style of blade in the 18th century. So while I can’t say definitely that the date in the inscription is period I can say it is at least a possibility. The scabbard, handle, etc could and most likely are all later than the blade and I wouldn’t date the blade by those elements.
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Old 7th June 2020, 09:34 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edster
Kubur's note of the commemorative quality of the inscription and date (1787) has historical merit. Here's a quote from a Wiki article on the Hamaj Regency who essentially controlled the Funj Kingdom.

"Rajab's campaign in 1785 marked the end of attempts by the Hamaj to control Kordofan, which was soon after (1787) conquered by the Keira Sultanate of Darfur, which thereafter exercised effective control over all of the territory west of the White Nile. the beginning of the loss of territory to the Funj state which culminated, in 1821, with the sultans and regents controlling little outside the city of Sennar itself.[8]

More on the Hamaj of the Funj
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamaj_Regency

While it may be an historical stretch, the sword may have been made in Ali Dinar's workshop in Darfur (c. 1898-1900) to commemorate his ancestors control of Kordofan and maybe his right to control it after the fall of the Mahdiya.


Thanks Easter for some historical context for that date along with additional theories about this blade. I have owned an Ali Dinar signed blade and the quality of the inscription on this sword is on par with that piece. That very well could be a possibility.
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Old 7th June 2020, 10:05 PM   #14
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Thanks for extra photos. The name is “Malik Ahmad Ibrahim”. The first 2 in the date 1202 is a bit oddly written, it has a strange “tail” underneath, so I’m not completely confident of the reading
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwiatek
Thanks for extra photos. The name is “Malik Ahmad Ibrahim”. The first 2 in the date 1202 is a bit oddly written, it has a strange “tail” underneath, so I’m not completely confident of the reading


Thank you Kwiatek for the additional information about the name. The translations you provide are super helpful and much appreciated!
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Old 8th June 2020, 01:54 PM   #16
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Pleasure! Thanks for sharing images of your sword, very interesting piece
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Old 8th June 2020, 02:22 PM   #17
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Nice sword!
I agree it's probably a commemorative date.

I have a similar one, dated 1810, with reference to sultan Muhammad al-Fadl, who indeed reigned between ca. 1801 and 1838.
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