Dagger Stamps of Afars and Issas

03 Dec 2018  Mon

The French Territory of the Afars and Issas was a country in the Horn of Africa. Formerly known as French Somaliland and currently known as Djibouti, the country was a colony of France.

“The Dagger” stamps are one of the peculiar stamps that give a glimpse of the life of the native people. The dagger shown in the stamps above is also known as the jile or qolxad. It has a long curved blade and is a significant native artifact of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Eritrea. It is the most famous and characteristic of Afar and Somali daggers.

The jile is a curved dagger ranging in length from 30 to more than 50 cm. The handle is typically made of wood or more rarely from buffalo or rhinoceros horn. The sheath is made of wood wrapped in leather, though it can sometimes have brass plates attached near the handle. It is commonly used in traditional events, such as dances as well as in times of dispute. It serves as both a weapon of self-defense, useful object, and adornment. The jile is used to slaughter sheep, carve wood, and cut hair

The Jile has been featured on a set of four definitive stamps of the country issue on 3rd April 1970. Issued with the denominations of 10 Djiboutian francs, 15 Djiboutian francs, 20 Djiboutian francs, and 25 Djiboutian francs, the stamps depict the dagger in the center in the ornamental scabbard and the name of the country inscribed dividedly at the top and bottom.

The jile is an integral part of being an Afar nomad in the Horn of Africa. This pride of the nomadic warrior and a symbol of virility is the most important heritage of Djibouti.

Image Courtesy: https://colnect.com

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