Case Knives (Sudan)

Code:  AN9

This is a “case” of knifes from Sudan, Mahdist period c. 19th century.  The case, or scabbard, is made of alligator/crocodile hide, possibly the tail part since it is stitched on only one side.  The case is extremely hard (and heavy). The handle of each knife is also wrapped in hide.  A leather strap at the side is used to secure the case to arm or leg.  The center blade measures 8 inches long and each of the curved blades are around 7 1/2 inches long. The blades are very sharp, show some signs of wear, and each has engravings of typical sudanese style.  These designs may be applied by the tribesmen, or the artisan who fashioned the knives.  In some cases, the designs imitate patterns seen elsewhere, as on the upper blade of a kaskara. The designs consisting of lines and dots may represent "map" type configurations with strategic locations indicated for easy reference.  This is found on some Islamic blades.  The geometric designs and symmetry are symbolism often seen in tribal folk religion and its talismans. (Tip 'o Hat to Jim McDougall).

A group of warriors in Sudan.  The standing warrior is wearing a similar case to this one.