Mahdist period example with extraordinary provenance. Bearing inventory number of famed English ethnographic collector and dealer W D Webster, active 1895-1901, personal collection sold 1904. It was presented to The Detroit Institute of Arts by Detroit pharmaceutical magnate, Frederick Sterns (died 1924). Thus, it clearly is booty from the Mahdist War of 1885, acquired by Sterns around the turn of the century and presented to the DIA. Forged iron, 17 ½” length comprising a central shaft set with three copper studs. Offset at the center with two crescent blades, two further above and below. Integral fore spike. Tool finish and decorative hound’s tooth borders. The crescents representing the symbol of Islam. Rounded skull crusher pommel and cloth wrapped grip.