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Old 19th October 2013, 11:40 AM   #1
Iain
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Default A little Sahel/Maghreb panoply...

A nice box arrived for me yesterday with many new things. 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.
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Old 19th October 2013, 07:08 PM   #2
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Fine pieces, Iain. Where exactly is the dagger from ?

Regards.
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Old 19th October 2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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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.
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Old 19th October 2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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Very nice Iain , I too like the single fuller takouba . Never seen a dagger like that , its most unusual .
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Old 20th October 2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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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.
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Old 20th October 2013, 12:52 AM   #6
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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
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Old 20th October 2013, 01:06 PM   #7
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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!)
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Old 20th October 2013, 01:08 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 20th October 2013, 01:12 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 20th October 2013, 01:14 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 20th October 2013, 03:10 PM   #11
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Well Iain - I really think you should be crowned "King of the Takoubas" !
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Old 20th October 2013, 05:14 PM   #12
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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.



Wow, impressive!
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Old 20th October 2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Well Iain - I really think you should be crowned "King of the Takoubas" !


It's what happens when you refuse to collect anything else. 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!


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

I know there's others with some very impressive pieces as well.
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Old 21st October 2013, 01:15 AM   #14
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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,
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Old 21st October 2013, 09:47 AM   #15
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Absolutely stunning Iain ...
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Old 21st October 2013, 02:07 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 21st October 2013, 02:18 PM   #17
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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.
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Old 21st October 2013, 02:34 PM   #18
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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!
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Old 22nd October 2013, 02:56 PM   #19
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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!
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Old 27th October 2013, 02:45 PM   #20
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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.
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Last edited by Iain : 27th October 2013 at 03:32 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 23rd November 2013, 12:25 PM   #21
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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.
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Old 23rd November 2013, 01:21 PM   #22
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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
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Old 24th November 2013, 09:50 AM   #23
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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
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Old 25th November 2013, 12:23 PM   #24
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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
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Old 25th November 2013, 01:09 PM   #25
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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.
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Old 30th November 2013, 11:45 AM   #26
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Just a little comparison to show the size of a typical cavalry lance head.
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Old 5th January 2014, 12:10 PM   #27
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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.
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Old 6th January 2014, 09:38 PM   #28
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Default 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
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Old 6th January 2014, 10:01 PM   #29
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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.
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Old 6th January 2014, 10:19 PM   #30
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a very nice piece. Interesting how this blade style was used from Maghrib to Sudan and Oman... very well travelled :-)
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