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Thread: Kaskara Sword more information needed

  1. #1

    Kaskara Sword more information needed

    Hi Guys,
    I recently inherited this Kaskara sword from my grandfather he acquired it during WWII at some point. I would like to know some more information about it.
    How old is it? Who would have owned such a sword? What do the inscriptions mean if anything? Where exactly is it from?
    Any help is more than welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
    Mike

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Hi Mike,

    Interesting sword, there's a few lines of thought on these.

    The script acid etched on the blade is known as Thuluth and in a Sudanese context is most associated with the Madhist period and Omdurman - it may have it's roots of use in the area from Mamluk remnants who ended up in the kingdom of Sennar. The inscriptions are typically verses from the Koran.

    Kaskaras of the type you have seem to be of a fairly distinct pattern and are not the same as the ones typically seen in tribal use. They all have the same leather wrap on the hilt and usually bronze/brass guards. There have been discussions in the past and personally this is the way I lean on the topic, that some of these were put together to fulfill a desire for visitors to the Sudan to bring back the iconic weapon. Many are quite short - almost half sized and have unfullered and flat blades and others are fitted with croc scabbards and hilts - in particular these seem to have been perhaps more aimed at the traveler than the warrior. These may have been produced in Egypt as well - other decorative kaskara were. The timescale these were produced is a little unsure but could have been up to WWII I guess. Traditional kaskara are still made for dance rituals and other tribal functions. I believe some Beja still regularly carry them, much like the Tuareg of the western Sahel.

    Specifically looking at your sword and to answer your questions a bit better:

    Age: I would imagine first half of the 20th century on this - the leather work at least doesn't seem to have more age to it. This would fit with the time frame you note it was collected in. Also the Thuluth on older examples is raised - from what I can see on yours this is more or less a flat and level with the rest of the blade?

    Inscriptions: Thuluth is notoriously hard to read unfortunately

    Location: Omdurman and the surrounding area seems likely

    The blade of your example is better than many seen in this style - does it have twin crescent moon stamps on it? Is it sharp?

    Best regards,

    Iain
    takouba.org

  3. #3
    Hi Iain,

    Thank you so much for the information.
    Yes the blade is sharp and no it doesn't have twin crescent moon stamps on it. The Thuluth is more or less flat (you can feel the inscriptions with your finger but its not significantly raised) It is however quite a long sword and the inside of the scabbard is made of thin wood (slightly disintegrating). I don't know if that is also typical for these kind of swords.
    One more question: Are these kind of swords rare?

    Thanks again,
    Mike

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Czech Republic
    Posts
    92
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Feith View Post
    Hi Iain,

    Thank you so much for the information.
    Yes the blade is sharp and no it doesn't have twin crescent moon stamps on it. The Thuluth is more or less flat (you can feel the inscriptions with your finger but its not significantly raised) It is however quite a long sword and the inside of the scabbard is made of thin wood (slightly disintegrating). I don't know if that is also typical for these kind of swords.
    One more question: Are these kind of swords rare?

    Thanks again,
    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    That it is sharp is a good sign, many have dull edges. Typically scabbards are leather in tribally used kaskara. Rare is something difficult quantify really, they do appear on the market with some regularity but perhaps less regularly than other kaskara.

    Best regards,

    Iain
    takouba.org

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