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Old 28th February 2021, 04:46 PM   #18
Jim McDougall
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Default Further thoughts on the design of the hilt on this sword

In continuing reading through resources seeking more information on the possibilities for this sword (orig. post) , the chapter "The Shining Mystery: Throwing Knives of Africa" in "African Arms and Armour" (Christopher Spring, 1993) is most telling.

In this, the nature of these curious and often wildly varying type of weapon is explained, from the often fanciful presumptions described by some Victorian authors, to the more reasonable awareness of their uses in other capacities .

Pitt Rivers, the brilliant anthropologist wrote on these in 1875, and in 1925 Emil Torday wrote on these multibladed 'knives' from the perspectives of the Kuba( Bushong) people.

In 1872, Nachtigal narrated that these types of weapons were largely 'throwing irons' used as a means of exchange, that is currency. This appears to have been the case in numerous tribal societies in these African regions.
In 1925, Thomas prepared a chart trying to classify the various forms.
This seemed to delineate them basically in a northern and southern category with variations in the blade arrangements.

The reason for this foray into the mystery of these 'throwing irons' is that the geometric pattern in this hilt seems quite possibly to be a kind of symmetric arrangement of these weapons, coupled with the type of actual blade used in Dongola.

As we know 'throwing knives' were used in Darfur and Kordofan, mostly in the status and official sense symbolically, it seems this might be some sort of diplomatic example, combining both weapon and the currency or exchange character of the 'shongo' to the south. Here I would note that the Darfur regions were highly active in slaving, which would possibly use this kind of 'exchange' currency, although it would not explain the 'Dongola' type blade, unless such activity incorporated those regions as well.

Just thoughts on the possibilities of 'throwing knife' characteristics as seen on this sword and why they might have been applied to a blade of possible Dongola style.
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