This "central" type takouba is shown in its scabbard. The scabbard is of embossed leather, usually red-brown to brown. The central portion of the scabbard is thin in comparison with the sides. The elaborate brass and copper work towards the tip is typical, including the thin blue-green leather trim. The opposite side is less embellished. The sword is worn at the left side, nearly horizontal, but with the hilt end slightly elevated, by means of a baldric attached to two straps emanating from the scabbard. Briggs (1965) describes the baldrics as being of leather, but use of several striped black and white fabric strips appears to be the current fashion.

 The cross-guard of this takouba of "central" type is covered with brown leather except for brass at the tips, which is overlain in-turn by copper and white metal on the display face of the hilt. A central brass plate with copper and white metal overlay is also present centrally on the display face of the cross-guard. Engraved decoration is present on these metallic enhancements. The pommel shows a stacked pyramid tip of four layers, alternating between copper and brass. Judging from the condition of the leather and residual luster at the depths of the engraving, it is unlikely that these mountings are more than a decade old..

 The blade has a short (22 cm.), broad fuller on each face, extending from the cross-guard, and shows signs distally of repeated resharpening, suggesting an older blade recently remounted. Within the fuller are various lightly engraved symbols. In the upper picture, oriented such that the hilt would be to the right, are three symbols: to the left an unidentified mark (which appears to a viewer damaged by late 20th Century American television as an "alien head"), in the center a square divided into four compartments with obliterated contents reminiscent of the talismanic markings on Islamic blades containing numerals, and on the right a device with a circle and cross-like form suggesting the cross and orb commonly seen in 16th Century German blades, which have been documented by Briggs (1965) as known in Tuareg contexts. The lower picture, also oriented such that the hilt would be to the right, shows a nearly obliterated serpent on the left and a five-pointed star on the right. An indistinct punched mark is present at the base of the blade on both sides and consists of a V like device overstamped with another, upside-down V, such that the bases of the Vs overlap. The engraving on the blade is almost certainly African, presumably intended as talismanic blade markings, including mildly corrupted markings borrowed from old imported blades of other cultures. Overall length: 97 cm. (38.3 inches); blade length: 81.5 cm. (32 inches).

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Copyright © 1998 by Lee A. Jones