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Old 21st September 2012, 05:15 PM   #1
Iain
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Default Odd takouba like sword

Been a while since I posted a new acquisition but I picked this up quite recently and it just turned up in the mail today. I only managed a brief clean to get the worst of old grease and some of the worst rust off.

It has a slightly curved blade I think native made, with two odd marks well and deeply stamped. Resembling European "eyelash" markings. Its a thick and heavy duty blade as well.

The pommel is flat, decorated on one side and the tang is passed all the way through which I didn't expect.

The scabbard is pretty standard and missing the throat but the chap is interesting as it seems like it never had a metal chap.

Overall 82cm.

I have no idea on an ethnic attribution, since it came from Germany I lean a bit towards Cameroon... It is certainly quite old.

All thoughts welcome.
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Old 21st September 2012, 06:38 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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Outstanding sword Iain!
This truly does seem of the takouba 'family' and I agree with the likely Cameroon attribution. The disc pommel is unusual and it seems the geometric scribed motif resembles other West African types but cannot recall specifics. I usually think of those peaked dome type pommels with Cameroon , I think Tebu?
The scabbard looks very much like the takouba type with the wrap around at the chape.
The blade seems almost reprofiled from the typical excessive sharpening, and unusual with the single central fuller. The 'dukari' seem to resemble more interpretations of the 'sickle' marks rather than the more common crescent moons on these blades, especially with the orbs at each terminal of the semicircle. I cant see whether the 'face' configuration is present.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 21st September 2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Outstanding sword Iain!
This truly does seem of the takouba 'family' and I agree with the likely Cameroon attribution. The disc pommel is unusual and it seems the geometric scribed motif resembles other West African types but cannot recall specifics. I usually think of those peaked dome type pommels with Cameroon , I think Tebu?
The scabbard looks very much like the takouba type with the wrap around at the chape.
The blade seems almost reprofiled from the typical excessive sharpening, and unusual with the single central fuller. The 'dukari' seem to resemble more interpretations of the 'sickle' marks rather than the more common crescent moons on these blades, especially with the orbs at each terminal of the semicircle. I cant see whether the 'face' configuration is present.

All the best,
Jim


Hi Jim,

Thanks for the comments. As always the "takouba" family is a little hard to define but I generally include any broadsword with a pronounced guard and pommel. This certainly fits into that criteria. The pommel is a bit reminiscent of Tebu style pommels - only it is round and the construction method is different. It is certainly not of the "skull crusher" variety.

The blade has seen some heavy sharpening - but I think it always had the curved profile. The scabbard seems to bear this out as well. The markings I think are less after the half moons and more after the sickles as you say. There are no "faces" to be seen in my brief examination - only the semi circles with terminating orbs.

I need to search out a few threads from the archive as I am sure I have seen similarly constructed pommels before from the Mandara region...

All the best,

Iain

Last edited by Iain : 22nd September 2012 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 22nd September 2012, 02:16 PM   #4
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I've been digging through the forum archives as I knew I'd seen a few pommels with these little knobs before.

I've taken the liberty of compiling a few photos from other threads here.

The threads were:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showp...40&postcount=13
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12979
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14500

1. The sword I started this thread with
2. A Mandara short sword from Martin Lubojacky
3. Sudanese short sword from RSWORD
4. A Fali people sword from Martin

The last is the most interesting to me as the style and shape are somewhat similar to my own sword. Perhaps I have a Fali piece?
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Old 3rd March 2013, 10:16 AM   #5
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I thought I'd share a quick image of this sword some time later with more of the rust removed.

Also an interesting photo from the Dar Sila sultanate with the gentleman on the left carrying an interesting sword with a similarly flat pommel.

In combination with the elements seen in the post above - somewhere above Northern Cameroon in Chad seems like a likely position for this sword to be placed in.
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Old 3rd March 2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
I've been digging through the forum archives as I knew I'd seen a few pommels with these little knobs before.

I've taken the liberty of compiling a few photos from other threads here.

The threads were:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showp...40&postcount=13
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12979
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14500

1. The sword I started this thread with
2. A Mandara short sword from Martin Lubojacky
3. Sudanese short sword from RSWORD
4. A Fali people sword from Martin

The last is the most interesting to me as the style and shape are somewhat similar to my own sword. Perhaps I have a Fali piece?



Looking at all of these and in particular, the second from the bottom in the group of 4 swords shown, that they all resemble the Roman Gladius.

Gavin

Last edited by freebooter : 3rd March 2013 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 7th March 2013, 04:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freebooter
Looking at all of these and in particular, the second from the bottom in the group of 4 swords shown, that they all resemble the Roman Gladius.

Gavin


Hi Gav,

Missed your comment before!

The similarity in some of the forms to Roman swords, or Celtic weapons in the case of some daggers and blades featuring various design motifs is interesting. But I tend to think of it as a matter of practicalities rather than any particular link.

The 'gladius' style blades are well suited to iron weapons or steel that is not particularly high in carbon content. While I'm no smith or metallurgist, my understanding is that a shorter blade is both easier to produce and a safer, stronger option than long, spatha style blades. This can be seen on this sword, where an old repair is visible. http://takouba.org/catalog/index.ph...ains-long-sword

Lost legions would be tempting though!
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Old 7th November 2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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Well I've finally been able to ID where this is from and just wanted to update this thread.

Cameroon regions. Below is a photo from 1917-18, archer in the front left is the one to be looking at.
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Old 7th November 2013, 05:45 PM   #9
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Very well done. I really like it when members work at it. Good for you.
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Old 7th November 2013, 11:31 PM   #10
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good show.......................jimmy
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Old 8th November 2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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Thanks guys, always a nice feeling to tick one of the unknowns off the list.
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Old 8th November 2013, 08:27 PM   #12
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Excellent research!
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Old 18th November 2013, 08:53 AM   #13
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Hi Iain,
I somehow missed this nice thread and I can only confirm - excellent research and super photo. Thanks !

Martin
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Old 18th November 2013, 10:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
Hi Iain,
I somehow missed this nice thread and I can only confirm - excellent research and super photo. Thanks !

Martin


Hi Martin,

Thanks! It was a bit of luck to find the photo.
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