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Sudanese Nuba or Fur Arm Dagger with Scabbard

Sudanese Nuba or Fur Arm Dagger with Scabbard

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Nuba or Fur people, early 20th century, Sudan, Northeast Africa

Fabulous aged Sudanese arm dagger. The handle and the splaying handle guard are carved from hard black ebony with round grip that expands to form a round pommel. Fascinating metal embellishment on the pommel are decorated with an incised design consisting of a stylized rosette. Finely made straight double edged iron blade features a well formed mid rib on each side. The sheath is made from a combination of plaited hide, hide or leather pieces, with tightly woven and meticulously braided loop handle.

Arm daggers of this type were widely used by various cultures throughout Sudan and attributing them to one specific group can be difficult. They were commonly found among the Fur and Nuba peoples. The Nuba people are indigenous inhabitants of central Sudan. Nuba are various indigenous ethnic groups who inhabit the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state in Sudan. The Fur (Fūr) are an ethnic group predominantly inhabiting western Sudan. They are concentrated in the Darfur region, where they are the largest ethnic group. 

Good condition. Handle are intact. Age-related wear and signs of use over many years. The pommel cap shows losses. Old repairs. Movement between the blade and hilt. The sheath are in moderate condition. One braided loop handle are missing. Size approx. 29,5cm (with sheath 30,0cm). Blade 17,5cm x 3,9cm and the handle 12,0cm x 8,9cm.

For a similar example see:

Arm daggers, Horniman Museum & Gardens, Accession number: 686 (

References and further reading:

African Metal Implements: Weapons, Tools and Regalia: Collection of Frederick & Claire Mebel, Peter Westerdijk, Hillwood Art Gallery, 1984.

"Arab knife", Southern Sudan Project (in development), Rachael Sparks, Pitt Rivers Museum, 03 Jan. 2006. (

Afrikanische Waffen, Werner Fischer & Manfred A. Zirngibl, Prinz-Verlag, Passau, 1978.

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