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Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Identification of African knife/dagger appreciated

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Hi everybody, this is actually my first post on here, I am trying to identify this knife that belonged to my late father, in the early 1950's, he travelled around some parts of Africa, he tended not to be one for being expansive about his experiences, being quite a private person, so I don't know exactly where he travelled. I do know he visited Kampala, Uganda, possibly Kenya and possibly South Africa, earlier, with his parents, he also visited Libya, Lebanon and Morocco, but I'm sure it is not from those, with the possible exception of Libya.

I have done quite a bit of browsing on the Internet, but can't find similar designs of knives. I do know he asked a friend who was quite knowledgeable about militaria and weapons in general, who thought it was genuinely old, not something created for the tourist market (that did exist, even in the 1950's and before).

The knife is 19 inches in length, the blade 13.5 inches long. There are prominent hammer marks in the blade, the blade has a slight bit of flex to it. It has a full tang, the end of the tang has been hammered over, as can be seen in the 6th image. When examined through a loupe, file marks (at least I think they are) can be seen, where it has been smoothed flush with the handle. I'm not sure where that places it in terms of age?

I have also included a wooden statuette that is similarly unidentified, though not necessarily from the same region. Apologies, I think I have identified the statuette as a Maori one, a Putokomanawa figure from New Zealand, the stunted legs legs appear to be common features of both regions, but the Haliotis shell eyes (type of edible sea snail found in shallow waters around New Zealand) and the flat top of the head, as well as some of the carving seem to match Maori statuettes on google images. If anybody knows any more about it, that would be great though!

Any help would be immensely appreciated!

Many thanks, Matthew.

















Edited by matarius777
Statuette identified, hopefully!

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Matarius, welcome to the GMIC!

I'm afraid I have no real insights to offer about your dagger, except to agree that it looks as if it was made for use by a local and not a tourist item.  I spent some time in West Africa many years ago and the style doesn't look at all familiar.

As far as recall, every knife I saw there had a leather sheath. I own/owned a couple blades of Tuareg workmanship and have seen a few more sub-Saharan West African styles and I'd venture to say it's NOT from there, which is not much help I grant you coming from a layman but does suggest it was acquired in the east or south parts of the continent.  Perhaps other members will be able to help - we have an incredibly eclectic and knowledgeable bunch here.  Good luck with the queries!


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Thanks Peter, that narrows it down a tad more. I wish I'd asked him when he was alive, there's a lesson for the younger folks on here I suppose!

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