Join Date: Oct 2009
Takouba w XVII century European blade
I would like to have your impression on a Takouba that I recently bouth. The sword has seen better times but to my eyes still remain an interesting piece. It has a straight high quality steel blade that in my opinion is a European XVII century blade. In fact one side of the forte is engraved with the latin letters "V.Danv". Between the V and D there is some kind of sign that I would interpret as a dot, but I am not sure. I don't know if this is the name of the owner or the maker marks. In any case it is not one of the classic Italian names. The possible maker mark is close to the writing and is a variant of the "globe w cross" described by Lhote (1954). I would say it is a "globe with a tree" This author referring to a slightly different maker mark reports it is found in European blades from X to XVII century but the specific case reported in his paper was a later Tuareg engraving. This could also be the fact for this mark but I am not sure. I do not have enough experience to establish it.
In any case similar blades were made in XVI to XVIII century in Europe. The blade is fullered, single edged with a squared ricasso at the hilt, but it is well-sharpened to the back edge about halfway down the blade to make a double edged sword. If this sharpening is native or original I am not able to establish. The point was smoothed as almost all the Takoubas I have seen. The hilt has a crossguard of engraved brass with fabric underneath, and steel within. It is decorated in the central part with two stars that are open and by a flower on each side the central part of which is again opened to show a green dot. The edges of the guard are also decorated with a piramidal rivet. A peculiar feature of the hilt is a circular brass rain guard feature that protrudes to both sides of the forte. This part has a concentric engraved ring the central part of which is decorated with a tuareg cross. The grip is cilindric slightly larger in the middle part. It makes a progressive transition to a large pommel with the classic brass decorations on top.
The scabbard is in relict conditions and only the central part is left decorated with a double row of stamped lozenges. The seller attribute it to the Hausa but I wait for some of the experts in the forum to confirm this attribution