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Thread: African sword?

  1. #1
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    African sword?

    I recently purchased this sword on a local internet auction site. Is any one able to identify it for me? It looks similar to a Sudanese Kaskara but lacks the cross piece guard. It obviously has some age, and the blade may well be an old European sword rehilted? Any ideas? Much appreciated. Thanks Todd.
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  2. #2
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    Hello,

    This seems to be an Abyssinian (Ethiopian) Gurade with an imported European blade.

    Regards,
    Emanuel

  3. #3
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    Thankks for your input.
    I am guessing late 19th Century? Would this be correct?
    Can you point me in the direction of futher information on this sword?
    Thank you once again.

  4. #4
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    Let me guess, there is a lion on the other side of the blade, opposite to the GG? The GG stands for GESETZLICH GESCHUTZT so you have a German blade. 19th century is reasonable I think.
    Check here:
    http://www.oriental-arms.com/search....de&s.x=0&s.y=0 for curved exsamples,
    and here:
    http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/search...earchid=132232
    for LOTS of info.

    Regards,
    Emanuel

    edit: Actually, there's plenty of info on this forum as well
    Last edited by Emanuel Nicolescu; 02-28-2007 at 01:51 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you very much, Emanuel. I have learned much more from you than I would have trolling through my limited library.
    I have not received the sword yet but when I do I will check for the lion!
    Kind Regards, Todd.

  6. #6
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    Smile

    Congrats on a fine sword, Todd!

    I have yet to get my hands on one of these, and other Abyssinian types as well. Do you have any description regarding the hilt material? From the pic it looks like it's painted, and these were generally horn (cow or buffalo in this case...could also be wood), but check when you receive it. And post more pics too.

    All the best,
    Emanuel

  7. #7
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    Excellent post Todd thanks for sharing and Emanuel thanks for providning the information.

    KInd regrads

    Manouchehr

  8. #8
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    Smile

    Hello all. The sword arrived and Emanuel is correct. There is an engraved lion on the reverse ricasso and some detailed floral eching in the fullers on both sides of the blade.
    The hilt appears to be a combination of horn and two types of hardwood with an incised brass pomel. The scabbard is very old dry antelope? or some other animal skin which is missing the drag area, and is reversed hide with remains of the pelt as a lining. Very rustic and pretty much relic condition.
    The sword itself is in good condition with a beautifully balanced 31 inch blade.
    Thank you for the information which I found enormously interesting, knowing nothing previously about Ethiopian swords, but now at least have a starting knowledge. Kind Regards, Todd.

  9. #9
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    I really have to get my hands on one of these beauties. The Abyssinian shotel is another marvel...so many things ready to drain the wallet

    Once again, congrats on a fine piece, Todd.

    Emanuel

  10. #10
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    Ethiopia sword

    Dear Emanuel, I just enrolled in sword forum and I read you discussion that was held in 2007 with Todd. I collect Ethiopian swords and I have some blades with the letters GG. However, being an Italian, I am not able to traslate what does it mean "GESETZLICH GESCHUTZT". As regarding the straigh Etiopian blades, usually they are called "Saif" (see also Wikipedia) while "gurade" is usually used for curved blades. The handle in the photo seems to be made of three peaces, two made of eban wood and the other of horn (deer, buffalo ??). Thanks for the information you shall provide and best regards
    Mauro


    Quote Originally Posted by Emanuel Nicolescu View Post
    Let me guess, there is a lion on the other side of the blade, opposite to the GG? The GG stands for GESETZLICH GESCHUTZT so you have a German blade. 19th century is reasonable I think.
    Check here:
    http://www.oriental-arms.com/search....de&s.x=0&s.y=0 for curved exsamples,
    and here:
    http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/search...earchid=132232
    for LOTS of info.

    Regards,
    Emanuel

    edit: Actually, there's plenty of info on this forum as well

  11. #11
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    Bien venuto, Mauro,

    GESETZLICH GESCHUETZT means "protected by law" or "trademarked". This would be a sort of patent stamp.

    You are quite right about the term saif, but in the context of the originally posted sword, searching for the word "saif" would have returned many variants of an Arab sword ranging from the Maghreb to the Arabian Peninsula. "Gurade" immediately identifies it as Abyssinian/Ethiopian.

    In response to your other question about Geez, I once asked an Ethiopian acquaintance about translating it on a sword and he indicated that many such incriptions consist of variations on "God watches over you". Of course we cannot generalize this. I will PM you a contact that might be able to help you.

    Best regards,
    Emanuel
    Always check your assumptions...there are no contradictions.
    Get some real news...
    www.informationclearinghouse.info
    www.counterpunch.org
    http://globalresearch.ca

  12. #12

    Ethiopian seif and shotel

    Dear Emanuel and Mauro,
    I'm Bulgarian, and live in Sofia.
    Todd started an interesting topic.
    I owe a seif and shotel and will send pictures.
    The lion is " The Lion of Judah". That's on one of the sides of the blade of the seif. On the other side is Emperor Menelik II. The lion is on the flag of Ethiopia till 1936, as far I remember. There is also a monument in the capital Adis Abeba.
    A friend of mine, living in USA, identified the seif and shotel for me.
    "The lion of Judah" is connected with King Solomon and The Godess Scheba.
    The sign is , I believe in Amharic, and would like to know what it says .
    I need to sell them. Offered them in Bulgarian forums, but there was no interest.
    People were interested only in " Zlatoust" sword/ Shashka, 1877, and bought it.
    Emanuel, the sign below the lion is " O. Terzian". What is the meaning.
    My friend told me it might be the name of an armenian trader.
    Best regards
    Emo

  13. #13

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  15. #15
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    sorry Emil, I was very busy these months and I did not entered the forum. Only today I have the possibility to read your message. I know the man in Canada. He is a friend of mine but regarding the traslation of the writings we have similar problems. Terzian was an Armenian merchant living in Etiopia at the end of the last century. There were many armenian merchants at that time. You most probably already sold the seif. I am not particularly interested on this one unless you want to sell it for a low price because to ship the sword it is quite expensive and in Italy and the net is possible to find them for cheap prices. However, if you find other seifs I shall be glad to see them. Please contact me at coltorti@interfree.it

  16. #16
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    Since reading Jeff Demetrick's informative posts about Kaskaras, I've had a better look at mine (given in Darfour Province about 1930).
    The blade is very high quality steel, balanced and flexible; nothing like a more recent Kaskara (given in Kassala about 1950) with a very ornate hilt and a sharp, rigid blade.
    The two Peter Kull fly (or tongs and trident?) marks are hidden well back under the guard.
    The Lion is deep and inlaid with copper.
    The Globus Cruciger (cross and orb)
    is very deeply incised and somewhat hacked at - as though it was done later on cold steel.
    As a boy, I was told that the symbol is a Tuareg life sign - but then I was also told the the lion was for Richard C.de L.
    Jeff brought me right back to earth - to Solingen - and the 1800's with the Kull mark.
    It's a few years since Jeff's post in this section. Maybe since then someone has learned more about Peter Kull and his marks. I would be keen to know whether the Lion and Globus Cruciger marks were true maker's marks or whether they were done to order for the North African market.
    I am also intrigued by the perfect fly mark and the shallow orb mark on Jeff's blade. Mine seems to be from another era.
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    Last edited by C. Broadbent; 05-10-2010 at 09:10 AM.

  17. #17
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    Interesting weld on that tang; is that a pinch from both sides? Like a clothespin? Or a scarfed weld?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emanuel Nicolescu View Post
    Let me guess, there is a lion on the other side of the blade, opposite to the GG? The GG stands for GESETZLICH GESCHUTZT so you have a German blade. 19th century is reasonable I think.
    Check here:
    http://www.oriental-arms.com/search....de&s.x=0&s.y=0 for curved exsamples,
    and here:
    http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/search...earchid=132232
    for LOTS of info.

    Regards,
    Emanuel

    edit: Actually, there's plenty of info on this forum as well

    Just spotted this by accident & you have helped identify a sword my Father has that he was hoping to sell but didn't know what the GG mark on it was for!

    Many thanks....Andy

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