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Old 26th March 2012, 10:43 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
EAA Research Consultant
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 6,694

A really interesting example, and I am in accord with most of the great observations here. This to me seems a late 17th into 18th century backsword blade, European of course. The marking are remarkably faithful to characteristic European types, but curious.

The 'globus cruciger' or cross and orb was widely popular as a talismanic device used with names, inscriptions and phrases. These letters seem similar to these kinds of additions to blades, and when in grouping that does not form an apparant word or name are usually acrostics. As far as I can determine there is not another listed which might explain this one, and the letters seem to be incongruent in form and in case, with a miniscule 'a'. The marking or device among the letters is inconsistant with these acrostics as well.

I am inclined to think these marks are added by a merchant in one of the entry centers where imports were dispersed to caravans, and who was familiar with these kinds of marks on European blades. The backsword blade was atypical for Tuareg takoubas, but in looking at the decoration, the four petal floral device resembles motif seen more to West Africa (Ive seen it on Sierra Leone daggers, and of course others I cant recall offhand). The 'rainguard' extension is also as noted, reminiscent of European type elements, as well as the bolsters (adabal) on the forte in line with the guard on some takouba.

Just my thoughts here, and looking forward to further ideas.

All the best,
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