The Prince and the Plunder

A book on how Britain took one boy and piles of treasures from Ethiopia

European sabre in Ethiopian sheath *

Published / by Andrew Heavens / Leave a Comment

What: A European sabre in a custom-made Ethiopian sheath, given by Secretary of State for India, Sir Stafford Henry Northcote

Where: The British Museum, Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG

The catalogue entry for the sabre reads: “Sabre with single edged, curved steel blade with central fuller. The hilt is made of iron with a leather [?] grip, scrolled quillian and iron pommel with small central boss.”


Curator’s comments: The sabre of European manufacture, is similar to those used by light infantry during the 19th century.

The catalogue entry for the sheath reads:

“Swords of European manufacture were highly valued and the quatlity of this sheath made for a Europen blade suggests that it was owned by someone of high rank. The fine filigree work lomita is a sign that the owner sucessfully pursued enemies in flight (Coates 1909) and would have been a reward for bravery. This particular style of sheath is often depicted in Ethiopian paintings of nobility.”

Museum number: Af1868,1230.11.a and Af1868,1230.11.b
Date: 19thC
Acquisition name: Sir Stafford Henry Northcote, 1st Earl of Iddesleigh
Acquisition date: 1868

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