Antique Islamic North African Sudanese Mahdist Arm Dagger

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A very good quality antique, late 19th century North African, Sudanese Islamic, Mahdist warrior, arm dagger with scabbard, from the Mahdist War period (a revolutionary insurrection against the British colonial rule in Sudan, which took place in 1881-1899). Fur / Nuba / Bedja / Barabra / Hadendoa
It was called the Mahdist War since the Sudanese leader Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah (محمد أحمد ابن عبد الله‎) 1848-85 proclaimed himself " Mahdi of Islam" (the "Guided One").

Details: a hilt in a distinctive form, made of black ebony wood with disc shape pommel with domed silver button engraved with rosette.

Beautifully hand-forged Straight, double-edged tapering steel blade cut with fullers with a central rib and beveled edges.

Complete with its tooled leather scabbard bounded at the throat and the bottom with crocodile hide and bulbous tip called toom, after the Arabic word for a bulb of garlic. The top of the scabbard is affix with two braided leather arm loops.

These daggers were carried on the upper left arm for rapid access with the right hand, hidden beneath clothing.

Daggers of this type were widely used by numerous tribes throughout Sudan such as Fur / Nuba / Bedja / Barabra / Hadendoa and attributing them to one specific group can be problematic. They were commonly found among the Fur and Nuba. Many found their way into distant areas via a system of long-distance trade by caravans, ending up far to the east in Somalia and far to the west in Nigeria.

CONDITION: Excellent example for the period in fine preservation with fine patina.

Overall length of the knife, sheathed in the scabbard: 20.5cm (8.7 inches).


Islamic and Native Weapons of Colonial Africa 1800-1960 by Anthony C. Tirri. Page .36. Figure 1-18

To see similar dagger displayed at the museum together with other Mahdist arms and amour,
please see the last photo in the listing.

The buyer will be provided with a copy of the pages from the mentioned references, together with a certificate of authenticity.

Item Details

Reference #:
Militaria & Weapons
Edged Weapons & Knives
Antiques (approx100yrs)
19th century
(Width x Height X Depth)
x x