A billao shortsword.
|Place of origin||Horn of Africa|
|Wars||Dervish resistance (1896–1920)|
|Length||17" to 25"|
|Blade type||iron or steel; pointed, double-edged|
A billao (Somali : billaawe), also known as a belawa, is a horn-hilted Somali shortsword. It served most notably as a close-quarters weapon in the Dervish State, at the turn of the 20th century.
The dagger has a double-edged, leaf-shaped, asymmetrical blade and a three-pronged pommel. One-pronged pommels with the metal tang protruding out from the center of the hilt have been reported. Together, the grip and pommel are 6¾" in circumference. The billao's blade is made of iron or steel, and is 10½" long and 2½" wide.Though other horn types are also used, the handle is typically made from the horn of buffalo. In total, the dagger is 17¼" long. The sheath is made of sheepskin, and the sword is worn on a belt around the waist.
It is said to have originated in the Togdheer, Cayn and Sool regions of present day Somaliland
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