Nubian Arm Dagger (Sudan)


Nubian Arm Dagger, Sudan, Mahdist period

Code: AN19

Small arm/sleeve daggers such as this one have been worn throughout the Northern Sahara for a long time. There are minor regional variations to each style of dagger.

Nubian Arm Dagger, Sudan, Mahdist period

This is a hand-made Nubian arm dagger from Sudan (or possibly Ethiopia), probably from the late 1800’s (Mahdist period).  Knives such as this were carried by followers of the Mahdi.  He defeated the British (c. 1880).  The hilt is made of circular ivory disks and an ebony handle.  The pommel is wheel shaped with a spherical button. The hand forged steel blade is 7 inches with a slight medial ridge / diamond cross section. It is very sharp with tool finished edges. The blade is decorated with engraved talismanic symbols on both blade faces.  The overall length is 11 inches.

The sheath is leather with crocodile skin straps.  There is a loop to attach to the owner’s arm with the blade tip towards the elbow. Worn under sleeves or a robe, the dagger could be drawn very quickly.

Man wearing arm dagger

Man wearing an arm dagger