Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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sakin, beit sakin (man's knife with sheath)
  • Hawazma peoples
  • sakin, beit sakin (man's knife with sheath), 1984
  • Where object was made: near Kadugli, Kurdufān (present-day Southern Kordofan), Sudan
  • iron, wood, leather, lizard skin, plastic, wire, carving, incising
  • Object Length/Width: a) 36.5 x 6.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: a) 14 3/8 x 2 9/16 in
    Object Length/Width: b) 26.5 x 10 cm width at loop
    Object Length/Width: b) 10 7/16 x 3 15/16 in width at loop
  • Museum purchase: KUEA Funds
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0402.a,b
Multimedia
Description

This is a knife (2007.0402.a) and a sheath (2007.0402.b).

The knife (sakin) has an iron blade with cutting edges on both sides. The wooden handle flares on the sides as a guard near the blade. The handle originally had a round pommel, though it has been broken on the front and back. There is a conical silver-colored ornament on the end of the pommel. It has incised bands below the pommel.

Thin sheets of wood provide the structure for the sheath (beit sakin) which is wrapped in leather on the superior end, and lizard skin on the inferior end, with a band near the opening of the sheath. There are two loops of twisted leather and colorful (red, green, blue) wire or string band about halfway down the sheath. There is a length of plastic tubing looped around the attached ends of the leather loop, near the sheath opening.

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.

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