Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Ethnographic Arms & Armour (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/index.php)
-   Ethnographic Weapons (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   A little Sahel/Maghreb panoply... (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17723)

Iain 19th October 2013 12:40 PM

A little Sahel/Maghreb panoply...
 
1 Attachment(s)
A nice box arrived for me yesterday with many new things. :D Mostly stuff I'd accumulated over the last year and a bit and had stored up in the US waiting to be shipped to me.

I just thought I'd share a quick group pic of a few items.

colin henshaw 19th October 2013 08:08 PM

Fine pieces, Iain. Where exactly is the dagger from ?

Regards.

Iain 19th October 2013 09:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Fine pieces, Iain. Where exactly is the dagger from ?

Regards.


Thanks Colin, I am particularly pleased with the single fuller sword.

The dagger should be from Mauritania or Mali. Or at least that's what I think was suggested sometime ago when I first showed off seller photos of the dagger on the forum. It's a pretty little thing and very well put together.

thinreadline 19th October 2013 11:23 PM

Very nice Iain , I too like the single fuller takouba . Never seen a dagger like that , its most unusual .

CharlesS 20th October 2013 01:33 AM

Iain,

Lovely pieces. The takoubas look to have quality and sturdier than usual blades. Both are quite nice!

I have heard of the dagger style being referenced to Senegal, but have never seen a stitch of written or illustrated evidence. I think those dagger types are lovely and elegant. They may borrow a little from the Moroccan koummya, but there is nothing else quite like them in the Islamic blade arsenal.

Robert 20th October 2013 01:52 AM

Absolutely wonderful pieces Iain, and like you I am really impressed with the one that has the single fuller. Could you possible post a few detailed photos of it as well as that lovely dagger that is shown?

Best,
Robert

Iain 20th October 2013 02:06 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the comments guys.

First the dagger, yes I've heard Senegal as well. That would be the northern section as I understand it, moving up into Mauritania. This area is a melting pot of Berber, Arab and other influences like Wolof. What you see I think is a result of that, showing a bit of Berber/Moroccan influence for sure as Charles points out.

(I apologize in advance for the less than perfect images, too sunny out today in my garden!)

Iain 20th October 2013 02:08 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Next up the triple fuller takouba. It's had a hard life! But it's one of the truly old ones with bit sturdy iron pommel and great balance.

Interestingly this one never had brass guard plates, the one side, the iron plate is decorated. Which is rather unusual.

Iain 20th October 2013 02:12 PM

9 Attachment(s)
Finally the single fuller... Something I mentioned before I was quite excited to get.

This one is truly special and joins a small group of swords I'm fortunate enough to own with very old blades.

This has a "fly" stamp associated with Italy and in particular schiavona at the base of the blade. The remains of an inlaid running wolf (latten) can be seen in the fuller.

For a takouba the entire thing is extremely unusual with a sharp tip and rare guard and pommel form as well as a deeply engraved cross in the hilt.

Iain 20th October 2013 02:14 PM

1 Attachment(s)
And finally because of a comment from Charles:

Quote:
Lovely pieces. The takoubas look to have quality and sturdier than usual blades. Both are quite nice!


I thought I'd post a group shot of a few of these 'sturdy' takouba with similar pommel styles. I think it's a great reminder that often times in ethnographic arms later examples really do serve more of a fashion/ceremonial role. But there are true battle worthy examples lurking out there! ;)

These are just a few I managed to group together, there are more, but trying to fit these into one shot in was exhausting enough. :D

colin henshaw 20th October 2013 04:10 PM

Well Iain - I really think you should be crowned "King of the Takoubas" ! :D

Sajen 20th October 2013 06:14 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
These are just a few I managed to group together, there are more, but trying to fit these into one shot in was exhausting enough. :D



Wow, impressive! :eek:

Iain 20th October 2013 08:46 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Well Iain - I really think you should be crowned "King of the Takoubas" ! :D


It's what happens when you refuse to collect anything else. :D The problem is once you've started getting into the scarce, old types, it's exceptional luck to pick up more than one or two good pieces a year. Something at a German auction has peeked my interest but the starting bid is pure insanity and I doubt I'll have anything new for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sajen
Wow, impressive! :eek:


Thanks! Taken a lot of time to find them all. :)

I know there's others with some very impressive pieces as well. :)

Robert 21st October 2013 02:15 AM

Every item you have shown here are outstanding pieces but your new example with the single fuller and the dagger are by far my favorites. If the ones you have in the group photo are just a part of your collection, saying that I am jealous would be a huge understatement. Thank you very much for sharing these wonderful examples with us all.

Best,
Robert

thinreadline 21st October 2013 10:47 AM

Absolutely stunning Iain ...

CharlesS 21st October 2013 03:07 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is another group of daggers similar to Iain's. I have been collecting these since 1999. I think they are stunningly artful, elegant, and exotic, and ....yet, that said, they remain quite a bit of a mystery. As Iain has noted they are attributed to the Sahel/Maghreb and Senegal, but I have never been able to actually pinpoint their origin or, for that matter, even a correct ethnographic name for them. Perhaps some of the other collectors of African ethnographic arms are more can help us here.

With little collector interest in them and the relative rarity with which they show up, they have just not garnered much attention.

The two examples to the left are more recent, probably 1950 or later. The others are older, likely early 20th century.

Iain 21st October 2013 03:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I remembered I'd seen a stamp featuring one of these; attached.

Great collection Charles! They really are some of the most artistic and unique daggers out there. I've seen some online with very ornate blade cut-outs as well.

The rounded finials on some of your pommels remind me of Manding sword pommels. Perhaps there is a connection. I have never seen well documented Wolof weaponry, so it could be an element of that as well.

And thanks to all who keep posting very kind comments about the collection pieces I've been showing. I really appreciate it and love to be able to show off the older examples of the takouba form and dispel some of the notions of the sword type being flimsy. :)

CharlesS 21st October 2013 03:34 PM

Hi Iain,

That's stamp probably goes further in pinpointing the origin of these than anything else I have seen on paper!! Now if we could only acquire the correct regional name for these??!!

What a great find and thanks for sharing!

Iain 22nd October 2013 03:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Hi Iain,

That's stamp probably goes further in pinpointing the origin of these than anything else I have seen on paper!! Now if we could only acquire the correct regional name for these??!!

What a great find and thanks for sharing!


I had a bit of a look last night, but didn't turn up anything yet. If there is a record it's likely going to be in French I think. Sadly not a language I get on particularly well with! :)

Iain 27th October 2013 03:45 PM

1 Attachment(s)
It's a nice afternoon here and I was bored, so another group shot just for fun. This time focused on the flat native blade type.

Sadly I have the one brass hilt in this pic with the presentation face of the guard not showing and I forgot to put another one into the shot. :(

Iain 23rd November 2013 01:25 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Just another one that came in the post yesterday.

Photos aren't all that great, wife took the good camera out for the day and I was stuck using my mobile phone.

The blade on this one is a rather poor local one. Not a particularly convincing combat weapon, but the hilt is very nice. The grip is unusually a wood core and the pommel is exceptionally large.

Typical rustic imitations of the half moon marks and narrow little decorative fullers. There's a bit of flex to the blade, but it seems to be a local iron product and is not very sharp.

AhmedH 23rd November 2013 02:21 PM

Dear Iain,

Thanks a lot for posting this. The swords are very good looking, and I'm a die-hard fan of straight double-edged swords. But could you please talk more about them? From which centuries do their blades date? The date of their hilts? Please tell us more; as I find myself interested in knowing more about those swords.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Ahmed Helal Hussein

Iain 24th November 2013 10:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AhmedH
Dear Iain,

Thanks a lot for posting this. The swords are very good looking, and I'm a die-hard fan of straight double-edged swords. But could you please talk more about them? From which centuries do their blades date? The date of their hilts? Please tell us more; as I find myself interested in knowing more about those swords.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Ahmed Helal Hussein


Thanks for your interest Ahmed.

Dating takouba is not an exact science. Very little to know pictorial evidence exists before the 19th century and accounts form travelers to these regions may mention swords, but almost never describe their appearance.

Examples with firm collection dates are not available before the early 19th century as well, due to the colonial campaigns within these areas.

That being said, many blades can be dated to some degree if they are European in origin and generally speaking hilts an be dated early to pre 19th century, or after.

In terms of blades I have an example from the mid 14th century, the mid 16th century, mid 17th, several from the 18th etc. So it is quite varied.

With hilts, personally I believe the style has remained somewhat static for quite some time, however it is very difficult to be certain how these swords looked in say 1650.

On top of that, blades were and are frequently remounted, meaning a blade and hilt combination is unlikely to be original by the time it ends up in collector's hands.

All the best,
Iain

AhmedH 25th November 2013 01:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Thanks for your interest Ahmed.

Dating takouba is not an exact science. Very little to know pictorial evidence exists before the 19th century and accounts form travelers to these regions may mention swords, but almost never describe their appearance.

Examples with firm collection dates are not available before the early 19th century as well, due to the colonial campaigns within these areas.

That being said, many blades can be dated to some degree if they are European in origin and generally speaking hilts an be dated early to pre 19th century, or after.

In terms of blades I have an example from the mid 14th century, the mid 16th century, mid 17th, several from the 18th etc. So it is quite varied.

With hilts, personally I believe the style has remained somewhat static for quite some time, however it is very difficult to be certain how these swords looked in say 1650.

On top of that, blades were and are frequently remounted, meaning a blade and hilt combination is unlikely to be original by the time it ends up in collector's hands.

All the best,
Iain


Dear Iain,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I would be very much interested in seeing that blade which dates back to the 14th century CE, and compare it with other Arab blades contemporary to it. I'd also like to know how much these blades looked alike; from the 14th to the 19th century, and how they differed.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Best regards,
Ahmed Helal Hussein

Iain 25th November 2013 02:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AhmedH
Dear Iain,

Thanks a lot for your reply. I would be very much interested in seeing that blade which dates back to the 14th century CE, and compare it with other Arab blades contemporary to it. I'd also like to know how much these blades looked alike; from the 14th to the 19th century, and how they differed.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Best regards,
Ahmed Helal Hussein


Hi Ahmed,

I'm speaking about European blades in this case. I'll post the 14th century example later. However it's likely North Italian.

The basic style of blades preferred remained fairly static, based on availability. Typically triple or single fuller blades. These were imported in very large numbers from the 16th-19th centuries.

Iain 30th November 2013 12:45 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Just a little comparison to show the size of a typical cavalry lance head.

Iain 5th January 2014 01:10 PM

6 Attachment(s)
Just the latest addition for those that find these interesting...

Took quite a bit of cleanup on this one. Guard has some damage one side, but it's been cleaned and is stable now. The entire thing was covered in yellow varnish...

Overall I quite like this one. The blade and pommel are exceptionally good.

Mauro 6th January 2014 10:38 PM

splendid example
 
it is sometime that I do not attend the forum and I missed the previous part of the thread that is very interesting as usual when Iain is showing his takoubas. All the examples are very interesting and this later Takouba is really a wondeful addition to the collection. I agree that most probably it goes back to the XVIII century. I already posted a takouba with a guard that strongly recall this one and although part of the cover was lost there are so many similarities. Just to have an idea look at this post http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15322 Just putting together small information from different takoubas I hope, and I think Iain share this hope, to slowly reconstruct the history of takoubas.
The main difficulties is to have a chronological reference and the best way is to find a photo with a clear evidence of the characteristic of a sword at the time of the photo. The other way is to find a chronological indication on the blade such as a maker mark or a symbol. It would be also very important to have a very good description of the forms preserved in old collection that usually have a clear date of gathering. For sure there were so many differences from place to place, from tribe to tribe and also from time to time. It would be a nice goal to unravel it, at least partially

Iain 6th January 2014 11:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauro
it is sometime that I do not attend the forum and I missed the previous part of the thread that is very interesting as usual when Iain is showing his takoubas. All the examples are very interesting and this later Takouba is really a wondeful addition to the collection. I agree that most probably it goes back to the XVIII century. I already posted a takouba with a guard that strongly recall this one and although part of the cover was lost there are so many similarities. Just to have an idea look at this post http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15322 Just putting together small information from different takoubas I hope, and I think Iain share this hope, to slowly reconstruct the history of takoubas.
The main difficulties is to have a chronological reference and the best way is to find a photo with a clear evidence of the characteristic of a sword at the time of the photo. The other way is to find a chronological indication on the blade such as a maker mark or a symbol. It would be also very important to have a very good description of the forms preserved in old collection that usually have a clear date of gathering. For sure there were so many differences from place to place, from tribe to tribe and also from time to time. It would be a nice goal to unravel it, at least partially


Thanks for your kind comment Mauro. For my part at least I am satisfied that we know more than we did about these swords. However there is still much to learn.

About your sword, there is also one other similarity worth noting - the use of green cloth under the guard, designed to show through the cutouts in the brass.

A.alnakkas 6th January 2014 11:19 PM

a very nice piece. Interesting how this blade style was used from Maghrib to Sudan and Oman... very well travelled :-)

Iain 7th January 2014 12:07 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
a very nice piece. Interesting how this blade style was used from Maghrib to Sudan and Oman... very well travelled :-)

And Europe very widely. ;)

Martin Lubojacky 8th January 2014 07:11 AM

Hi Iain,
If you should allocate this sword based on previus discussions and pieces of info - this kind comes from the southern part of Sahel and the blade was delivered from Europe ?
Elegant sword
Regards,
Martin

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 8th January 2014 08:01 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by A.alnakkas
a very nice piece. Interesting how this blade style was used from Maghrib to Sudan and Oman... very well travelled :-)



Salaams A.alnakkas . The Omani straight dancing blade is not the same as this...The Omani straight Sayf.. "The Dancing Sword" being hugely flexible and purely used in the traditions and in honour of the ruling al Busiidi dynasty thus datable to not before 1744... and made in Oman. :shrug:

Where confusion has arisen in the past is I believe owing to the curved European trade blades entering service as typically slave Captains and Merchant swords and termed Kattara here.

The additional confusion happens because the North African blade appears similar ...which is simply coincidental. The marks on blades across the region contain similar stamps all apparently done locally.

Where the blade differs...
1. The Sahel regional style quite often comes from Europe. The Omani does not.
2. The Sahel item is thicker whereas the Omani style is flat and thinner.
3. The Sahel style is fairly sturdy and sharpened or at least often is fashioned to a point. The Omani "point" is round.
4. The Sahel blade being thick and sturdy is not very flexible. The Omani blade is extremely flexible and often easily bent through 90 degrees and further returning immediately to straight.
5. Sahel examples often have reinforced throats... Omani ones not.
6. The fullers in the Sahel are either much broader and deeper than those on the Omani blades or very thinly done.
7. The Sahel blade is a battle blade and fitted as a battle weapon to its respective hilt. The Omani blade is not for fighting.
8. The Omani item is purely ceremonial for heralding the dynastic ruler and the traditions. The Sahel is used for other things.
9. The Sahel weapon evolved in its own dimension, tribally, whereas the Omani variant is directly linked to the Old Omani Battle Sword and carries with it (in the same way) the Terrs shield. The tip is rounded and it is sharp on both edges honouring the forefathers Old Omani Battle Sword concept, thus, it comes from a totally unrelated root... and certainly unrelated to Sahel types.
10. The entire aspect of the Omani Dancing Sword can be seen to be totally unrelated to the Sahel example as described in http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...5129#post165129

I believe the two are chalk and cheese. In fact, the only slight similarity occurs on a few commonly copied stamps, for example, occasionally "similar" moon strikes ~ but that is all.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Iain 8th January 2014 08:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
Hi Iain,
If you should allocate this sword based on previus discussions and pieces of info - this kind comes from the southern part of Sahel and the blade was delivered from Europe ?
Elegant sword
Regards,
Martin


Hi Martin,

Yes, definitely southern Sahel I think. I think the wire grip is significant here. Of course there is the possibility this was done at a much later date on the sword and the original sword had the typical leather grip and was from Hausaland.

About the blade, definitely European and much older than usual. This is of a higher quality than most triple fuller blades.

blue lander 14th January 2014 03:02 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Would this dagger fall into this category as well? I don't know anything about it, except that the blade is a heavy, serious piece of metal. Apologies if I'm posting it in the wrong thread. The hilt is obviously very different than these other daggers, but It seems closer to this family than other jambiyas/koummyas.

Iain 14th January 2014 06:38 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by blue lander
Would this dagger fall into this category as well? I don't know anything about it, except that the blade is a heavy, serious piece of metal. Apologies if I'm posting it in the wrong thread. The hilt is obviously very different than these other daggers, but It seems closer to this family than other jambiyas/koummyas.


Variation on a koummya, the scabbard indicates the Mahgreb rather than the Sahel to me. Something from the North African coast I would think.

PS we obviously browse the same seller sites, did you buy this? ;)

blue lander 14th January 2014 07:13 PM

I did indeed! Interestingly enough, the hilt appears to be made from some sort of yellowish plastic. It's starting to delaminate and flake off. It's actually translucent, you can see the tang inside. The front half of the hilt looks like wood.

The hilt and sheath are both disintegrating, but the blade itself is a very nice piece of steel. It has two fullers (one large and very deep, the other thin and shallow) and a fairly sharp false edge. The main edge show signs of repeated resharpening.

Jim McDougall 14th January 2014 08:04 PM

I entirely agree with Iain, this looks like an ersatz version of the koummya fashioned from a reprofiled old sabre blade, note the opposed carry rings, and loosely the hilt form .

Martin Lubojacky 14th January 2014 08:20 PM

I think there is Osman influence (I mean Turkish) - pls notice the central groove in the wooden part of sheath which fits spiral wire sewing.

Iain 14th January 2014 08:29 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
I think there is Osman influence (I mean Turkish) - pls notice the central groove in the wooden part of sheath which fits spiral wire sewing.


Good point. :)


All times are GMT. The time now is 12:35 AM.

Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.