Kaskara with Snake Fuller, 19th Century
Straight-bladed swords with cruciform guards and disk-shaped pommels, known as kaskaras, are typical of the Sahara region, particularly Sudan. While the hilt of this example was locally made, the fine blade of crucible (“watered”) steel is Iranian and bears the name of Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar, who ruled Iran from 1848 to 1896. This sword was taken as booty by the British general James Grenfell Maxwell at the battle of Omdurman, during the Mahdi uprising in Sudan, on September 2, 1898.
Date: hilt, late 19th century; blade, 1848–96
Culture: hilt, Sudanese; blade, Iranian
Medium: Steel, copper alloy, wood, leather, gold
Dimensions: L. 40 ½ in. (103 cm); L. of blade 34 11/16 in. (88 cm); Gr. W. of blade 1 ¾ in. (4.3 cm); W. of guard 6 ½ in. (16.5 cm); Wt. 2 lbs. 14 oz. (1304.1 g)
The double-headed snake fuller is incredible. According to the Instagram account of Sean Belair, the pommel is also a rattle!
HAMAA: Historical African Martial Arts Association is the place you wanna go if you’re interested in learning how to use a kaskara.