Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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sakin, beit sakin, mungash (man's knife, sheath and tweezer)
  • Hawazma peoples
  • sakin, beit sakin, mungash (man's knife, sheath and tweezer), 1983–1984
  • Where object was made: Umm Durmān, Al Kharţoum, Sudan
  • iron, wood, leather, string, carving, incising, braiding
  • Object Length/Width: a) 29 x 3.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: a) 11 7/16 x 1 3/8 in
    Object Length/Width: b) 28 x 8.5 cm length includes loop
    Object Length/Width: b) 11 x 3 3/8 in length includes loop
    Object Length/Width: c) 15 x 0.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: c) 5 7/8 x 3/16 in
  • Museum purchase: KUEA Funds
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0404.a,b,c
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Description

This knife (sakin) (2007.0404.a) has an iron blade with two convergent lines of small "x's" incised on each face. The wooden handle is football shaped for the grip with a lateral expansion where it joins the blade, and at the pommel which has a non-sharp iron triangle. The handle is wrapped in narrow leather strips.

The leather sheath (beit sakin) (2007.0404.b) has a loop handle of twisted leather strips, which closes on itself with a leather button and loop. The loop is strung through a braided leather loop on the sheath. There are three panels. The top one, nearest the opening, has three rows of stamped dots. The second panel is a diamond, filled with a grid pattern. The bottom panel is undecorated. About 2/3 of the seam is stitched with string.

There is a long silver metal, possibly iron, tweezer (mungash) (2007.0404.c) with flattened tips and a point opposite. It has spiralling lines incised near the midpoint of the handle. There is a small loop on the sheath to accomodate the tweezer.

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 out from a person's feet.

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