Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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sword with scabbard
  • Africa
  • sword with scabbard, late 1800s–2007
  • Where object was made: Northern Africa
  • steel, wood, brass, leather, string, carving, braiding, weaving, incising
  • Object Length/Width: a) 64.5 x 8.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: a) 25 3/8 x 3 3/8 in
    Object Length/Width: b) 50 x 27 cm width includes strap
    Object Length/Width: b) 19 11/16 x 10 5/8 in width includes strap
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0401.a,b

This sword (2007.0401.a) has a straight blade of steel or iron. The handle is made of wood, but covered in leather. The guard and pommel flare to the sides, and are covered in a light-colored leather. The grip is wrapped in woven strips of dark leather incised with parallel lines. The blade has one cutting edge. There is a small brass loop on the pommel.

The scabbard (2007.0401.b) is made of wood, covered in leather. Its length is divided in two parts: the half near the opening has a leather knob on either end where the strap attaches. It has loops of braided string inserted under the leather wrapping at the level of the leather knobs. The strap itself consists of four braided strands of leather, joined at each end with a leather button, which goes through the string loops. The leather surface of the scabbard is decorated with incised lines. There is a band of oblique lines near the opening and a band of parallel lines next to the leather knob near the opening. The other leather knob has a band of cross hatching on one side and diamonds on the other. The space between the bands and the remainder of the length are darker, possibly dyed, and decorated with incised lines in clusters, each directed toward a central point, giving the effect of stacked chevrons, with a lighter strip of small circles down the middle.