Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

sakin, beit sakin, mungash (man's knife, sheath and tweezer)
  • Hawazma peoples
  • sakin, beit sakin, mungash (man's knife, sheath and tweezer), 1984
  • Where object was made: Umm Durmān, Al Kharţoum, Sudan
  • iron, wood, snakeskin, cloth, string, carving, incising, braiding
  • Object Length/Width: a) 26 x 7.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: a) 10 1/4 x 2 15/16 in
    Object Length/Width: b) 17 x 10 cm
    Object Length/Width: b) 6 11/16 x 3 15/16 in
    Object Length/Width: c) 11 x 0.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: c) 4 5/16 x 3/16 in
  • Museum purchase: KUEA Funds
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0403.a,b,c
Multimedia
Description

This knife (2007.0403.a) has an iron blade with two cutting edges. The wooden handle has a wide guard, giving it a "T" like appearance with a flared pommel. The grip is cylindrical.

The sheath (2007.0403.b) appears to have two wooden slats for structure, covered with leather on the top half and snakeskin on the bottom half, and a band near the opening. The leather portion is decorated with incised "X's" on the seam side. The other side has two incised "x's" and four bands of dots. The snakeskin portions are banded with twisted reddish leather. The point of the sheath has enough leather wrapping that it is cylindrical. There is a loop of braided leather on the band of snakeskin near the opening. The handle of braided leather over cloth is attached throught this loop with a band of twisted leather. The twisted leather is broken, and held together with string.

The iron tweezer (2007.0403.c) has a point on one end and flattened tips on the other. The middle 1/3 is flattened and decorated with incised crosshatching.

It was worn on the arm inside the sleeve of the jelabiyah. It could be used for any general purposes. Men would purchase the knife from the blacksmith and the case separately. The tweezers were used for pulling thorns from a person's feet.

Sakin means "knife" and beit sakin literally translates to "knife house" and refers to the scabbard.