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Thread: Ethiopian Blades, rehilted in Yemen

  1. #1
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    Ethiopian Blades, rehilted in Yemen

    I posted a sword like these two quite some time ago and the forum members were able to figure out that the blade was
    Abyssinian and made somewhere in Europe (not by Wilkinson, I'm fairly certain).
    These two also have Abyssinian blades with floral etching. The smaller blade has big Amharic script, a crown stamp on the forte, and some western letters that I am trying hard to decipher.
    I am told that these were hilted in Yemen sometime between 50-75 years ago in silver with the amber and coral. However, the leather on the scabbards has been replaced recently.
    Please feel free to comment, especially if you have ideas about the crown stamp and the letters (what I can capture of them).
    Regards,
    -d
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  2. #2
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    the Amharic

    Here's the Amharic. I'll see if I can get a translation, but I'm not even sure that I photographed it right-side up...
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  3. #3
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    the Stamp

    Here's the mark and letters on the forte. Any ideas?
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  4. #4
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    Hi Derek,
    I would go along with the mountings coming from Yemen, or even more specifically Hadramaut, as these type scabbards with the gadrooned silver bands, the receptacle for the langet in the scabbard throat, are characteristic of Arab sabres of 18th -19th centuries.The hilt shape is quite atypical and may be a stylized interpretation of the shotel hilt?
    The broadsword blade is of the type produced for Abyssinia by Wilkinson through the 1930's,but as you note this is clearly not a Wilkinson example. These always seem to have had the Star of Solomon at the forte. This exact blade shape and fuller form agrees with #155 in an undated catalog of these swords I received from Wilkinson. The blade is noted at 30" long.
    There were certainly other sources for blades, and while Aden in Yemen was within British suzerainty, I am not sure that the only source of blades would have been England. The crown is a bit of a puzzle, need to check further on that. The calligraphy is of course Amharic (Gheez).
    It would be interesting to discover the history of this pattern blade produced by Wilkinson, possibly it was derived from a German prototype?
    Best regards, Jim

  5. #5
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    Derek,
    In looking again at the pictures strike my comment on 'stylized' shotel hilt....even my imagination cant fathom that! The hilt is clearly a form of its own.
    On the crown, checked sources here and this doesnt correspond to any British examples I can find. Guess its time to get out the coin books...those are good for finding such things.
    Best, Jim

  6. #6
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    Hi Jim,
    Those letters on the forte may help Id it, but I need to do some meticulous cleaning and it's difficult to get to. If I can make out more letters I'll post them.
    Regards,
    -d
    Rollin' the dice on fire...

  7. #7
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    Translation of Geez

    A friend I've made online has replied to me with a translation of the Geez etched on the fullers of the smaller blade. This is the response I got:

    "They were difficult to see but luckily some of the words are there. The words are in Geez and what they mean is :

    ''Ethiopia stretches her hands to God''.

    This is from the Bible (Psalm 68:31) as I am sure you know and it is one of the most favorite Bible quotes of Ethiopian artists for centuries."

    Just thought I'd share.
    Regards,
    -d
    Rollin' the dice on fire...

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