Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Interesting African short sword (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14835)

thinreadline 5th January 2012 02:29 PM

Interesting African short sword
 
4 Attachment(s)
Again from my 'heap' I have this dagger or short sword. The blade is reminiscent of a spear head but appears to be purpose made with a substantial iron pommel. The multi fullered blade is thick and of good quality. The scabbard fits well ( apart from the fact that the dagger will not entirely slide in ) It may of course be the wrong scabbard but the difference in blade colour shows that the dagger has been in this scabbard for a long time . The scabbard is wood covered with stitched on monitor skin , but the handle appears to be crocodile . Overall dagger length excluding scabbard is 48 cm .

Iain 5th January 2012 02:54 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Pommel form reminds me of Chamba and related Mandara area forms (Mundang, Vere or Daba). See attached image from Wente-Lukas ("Die materielle Kultur der nicht-islamischen Ethnien von Nordkamerun und Nordostnigeria").

Martin Lubojacky 6th January 2012 02:56 PM

I agree re. pommel. (Iain, I would be very iterested in your sources like this book by Wente - Lukas....)
I do not know if it has any importance, but the leather is from Ornated Monitor Lizard, which lives in rainforests more to the south. It used to be used e.g. by Fang from Gabon/South-West Cameroon-RC. ---What about some tribe from south Cameroon ??
Regards,

Martin

Iain 6th January 2012 03:09 PM

Hi Martin,

I just have couple pages scanned from this Wente-Lukas book that a friend sent me. I would like to own the book, but very hard to find a copy I think and I would not be able to read the text. :(

I agree that if the lizard is mostly found to the south it makes sense the sword is from that region. Here is the wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornate_Monitor

Or could the skin be the Nile monitor lizard? It has a much wider range it seems.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_Monitor

Best,

Iain

Iain 16th January 2012 11:14 AM

8 Attachment(s)
Well I convinced Richmond to part with this piece and just received it today. It got a very quick clean and I wanted to show up some more detailed photos.

The blade shows a bit of delamination and various edge nicks. The pommel is similar to a Chamba sword I have. The grip is a little dry and fragile, but seems to be croc skin with the leather ties on the ends that are often seen on swords from the Mandara region. Overall I quite like it. I'm including a photo with the rest of my small but growing Mandara collection.

Gavin Nugent 16th January 2012 11:16 AM

Congrats Iain!

Richmond does have a lot of good stuff available but this piece is where it belongs. Thank you for showing these in context and sharing your growing studies.

Gav

thinreadline 16th January 2012 12:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Iain
Well I convinced Richmond to part with this piece and just received it today. It got a very quick clean and I wanted to show up some more detailed photos.

The blade shows a bit of delamination and various edge nicks. The pommel is similar to a Chamba sword I have. The grip is a little dry and fragile, but seems to be croc skin with the leather ties on the ends that are often seen on swords from the Mandara region. Overall I quite like it. I'm including a photo with the rest of my small but growing Mandara collection.


Well you have certainly improved it Iain , well done ... and it looks great with your other items .... pleased you have it.
Richmond

Iain 16th January 2012 01:03 PM

Thanks Gav and Richmond. :)

It's an interesting piece for sure. The diversity of forms in this region really fascinates me, but despite dissimilar overall appearances little elements like the pommel and style of the leather ties show a certain interconnected nature with other ethnic groups. I find collecting this sort of thing a nice change from the fairly uniform nature of takouba.

The use of two reptile leathers I also quite like. The monitor is of course common in this region and the Nile crocodile has a range all throughout the south and eastern border of Nigeria and in Cameroon as well.

Yvain 25th November 2020 12:27 PM

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For the archives, I think I found something similar to this sword (while searching for a different type of Mandara short sword...), though we would need to require unsheathed pictures from the museum to be sure.


Anyway, very similar scabbard, grip, and pommel, same origin (Cameroon), though it seems like it was collected way more South than the Mandara mountains (but blades do travel, I noticed something similar while studying D swords).



http://www.smb-digital.de/eMuseumPlu...ype=detailView


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