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Knife, Utility, Scabbard, D57.92

Physical Description

Knife with double sided blade, no fuller. Blade as black painted line up middle, both sides. Black leather handle, stitched up one side.
Sheath has plaited leather cord at top end, and tassels at bottom. Two long panels hang with tassels. Panels have decoration of lines, crosses, and one has a chequerboard pattern.

Research Notes

? Likely from subSaharan West Africa, e.g. Northern Ghana. Possibly Hausa people. —Joel A Vanderburg
?Likely from subSaharan West Africa, e.g. Northern Ghana.
Knife = iron blade, leather (goat/sheep?) handle, and sewing fibre (synthetic/plant/animal?). (Possible wooden handle underneath leather?) (Sheath/scabbard = leather (goat/sheep). (Possible 'wood' frame within sheath over which leather is stretched?) Possible animal sinew as stitching.
General purpose knife, e.g. hunting/skinning, cutting, protection.
KNIFE: Handle comprises approx. 1/3 length of knife. Dark leather tightly wrapped and roughly sewn up one side of handle (full length) where edges of leather come together. Top of handle is somewhat round/peg shaped, narrowing and then gradually flattening until reaches the base of the blade. Shape of handle suggests some 'support' (wood?) might underlay leather with wood as the prime component of the handle? Extending directly out of the base of the handle is a double edge flat iron blade, with the center slightly thicker than the edges which tapers its full length to terminate at a sharp point. The 'backbone' (thicker centre portion) of the blade is emphazied somewhat by being black and unpolished. The edges of the blade on both sides are polished and filed in parallel to the edges of the blade. Blade appears to be hand forged. Leather handle of knife could suggest in both its general rough but functional appearance and rather rough stiching that it is not the original leather ...that it might be a repair/replacement. 'Plain' handle appearance is also somewhat 'out of character' with the elaborate appearance of the sheath. SHEATH/ SCABBARD: Sheath appears to be made entirely of leather with possible wood(?) interior frame. Sheath is rather elaborate comprised of a slightly tapered main body with several separate horizontal and parallel wrappings (leather) at the both top (open end)and bottom ends - 3 of which at each end are narrow white dyed leather against the main dyed reddish brown leather. One side of the scabbard has its 2 edges as raised ribs (with a hammered straight line decoration running the full length of each, and a hammered jagged line decoration in the centre unribbed area. The opposite side of the sheath (the 'back' side) is where the two edges of the leather are pulled together and sewn the full length of the scabbard with what appears to be animal sinew. There are no raised 'ribs' on the back side but a series of parallel and intersecting 'hammered' lines run both vertically and horizontally on the polished leather surface. 4 braided leather cords extend out of the top side of the sheath (at the 'back' side) and come together (like a bracelet) tied by a 'slip knot'. Likely this design allows cords to be slipped over the wrist/arm and tightened - carrying the sheathed knife at that location, i.e. on the wrist/arm. From the bottom end of the sheath hangs a 'mass' of leather strands/tassles sandwiched between two leather flaps of equal length. On one side (the 'outside') of each leather flap contains a series of horizontal, vertical, and intersecting lines (formed by removing the top layer of the leather). The general patterning on each flap is different from the other. General appearance of both knife and sheath is of well made functional items having received some use and in good condition. Heavy dark patina on knife handle suggests extened use. NOTE: Knife has no ID no.
1st half of 20th century(?)
KNIFE: Full length = approx. 312mm. Blade only length = approx. 197mm. Width of blade a widest (base of handle) = approx. 31.9mm. SHEATH/SCABBARD: Length of main body of sheath = approx. 205mm. Length of braided 'wrist tie' = approx. 126.7mm. Length of bottom tassles = approx. 148mm.




Maximum dimensions (H x W x D): 450 x 120 x 40mm
Maximum dimensions (H x W x D) (knife): 315 x 34 x 27mm

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