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Old 18th October 2020, 04:52 PM   #1
Marc M.
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Default Latest takouba for comment

Hi

My latest takouba. A well made sword, both blade and scabard are of fine workmanship. I think that the handle and scabard are what we call modern, probably last quarter 20 century, a classic stacked pommel and a crossguard with decorations off leather and metal. Richly decorated scabard and mounts.
The blade is verry well made, a strong blade with some flex, thicker than my other takouba's. A single wide central fuller and two narrow fullers on each side. In the central fuller on both sides are engraved native markings; snake, lion, 3 stars and some words, translation is welcome. Blades with this kind off fullers are rare, two on Ian's site takoube.org. The tip off the blade is special, carps tongue named i believe.
I have no idea off age, but what i have found is that the blade could be older than the 20 century. So i hope that the more knowledged members about takouba's on the forum share their thoughts on this one.

Greetings
Marc
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Old 19th October 2020, 10:20 AM   #2
Lee
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Thumbs up Nice!

A very nice takouba indeed! I believe that your assessment in dating is correct, the mounts from the last half century and a blade from the 19th century or even earlier. It is not at all uncommon to find old heirloom blades in much more recent mounts within this culture. I do not know about today, but from personal observations during travel to the area a couple of decades ago, these were still routinely being worn on a daily basis in places. Some of my oldest takouba blades are in the newest mounts in my collection and this should not be unexpected wherever such an artifact actively remains in use.

(I presented a number of the examples I collected with similar engraved motifs back in the UBB days on this forum and you can still find those threads by using the archive.org way-back-when-machine. The originals remain locked down because of malicious corruption and are awaiting manual repair and restoration.)
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Old 19th October 2020, 06:23 PM   #3
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Hi Lee
Thanks for the comment, i tried to find your photo's in the way back when machine but not so successful yet.
Greetings
Marc
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Old 19th October 2020, 06:58 PM   #4
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Interesting sword Marc ! Nice blade indeed, I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, did you bought it from a French auction house by any chance ?

Surprisingly, this is not the first blade with those type of markings that I see in newer, Agadez style, mounts. One would need to look into this deeper, but there seems to be a lot of takouba bearing the snake and lion (most likely locally applied) coming from Niger. Here is 3 examples from Norman's website, but I'm pretty sure I've seen others elsewhere :

- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-37
- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-98
- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-101

Note how they all have the lion and snake in various configurations and styles amongst other symbols, all of them in rather recent Nigerien mounts.
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Old 19th October 2020, 10:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marc M.
Hi Lee
I tried to find your photo's in the way back when machine but not so successful yet.
I am not finding it either. Give me some time and I will re-photograph the sword I am thinking of with the snake and lion on an older blade in Agadez style silver mounts - it may be a week or two however.
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Old 20th October 2020, 05:50 PM   #6
Marc M.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvain
Interesting sword Marc ! Nice blade indeed, I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, did you bought it from a French auction house by any chance ?

Surprisingly, this is not the first blade with those type of markings that I see in newer, Agadez style, mounts. One would need to look into this deeper, but there seems to be a lot of takouba bearing the snake and lion (most likely locally applied) coming from Niger. Here is 3 examples from Norman's website, but I'm pretty sure I've seen others elsewhere :

- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-37
- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-98
- http://takouba.org/catalog/index.php/takouba-101

Note how they all have the lion and snake in various configurations and styles amongst other symbols, all of them in rather recent Nigerien mounts.

Hi Yvain
I bought it on catawiki from a Belgian seller and, yes these markings are not all
that rare, i was referring to the fuller combination, one single wide fuller
flanked by two narrow ones, not so common. Trying to find out what the meaning is off these markings.
Greetings
Marc
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Old 20th October 2020, 05:55 PM   #7
Marc M.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
I am not finding it either. Give me some time and I will re-photograph the sword I am thinking of with the snake and lion on an older blade in Agadez style silver mounts - it may be a week or two however.

No worries, i'm going nowhere.
Greetings
Marc
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Old 22nd October 2020, 04:17 PM   #8
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Default Engravings

Congratulations. It is an interesting blade. Can anyone tell me about the age and method of this type of engraving? Except for the lion these engravings have a stimpled look. Is the stimple the method in and of itself or is it a byproduct of hitting a graving tool with a mallet? I've seen it on other blades, notably yagathan's with an Anatolian look where it seemed a later addition, but on this blade it seemed consistent with other manufacturing techniques. The 3rd picture from the bottom, that begins with a star, when I first saw it reminded me of Allah written seven times in a row, but when I looked closer I thought not. I would love a clearer detail of the silver work on the chape.
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Old 24th October 2020, 04:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interested Party
Congratulations. It is an interesting blade. Can anyone tell me about the age and method of this type of engraving? Except for the lion these engravings have a stimpled look. Is the stimple the method in and of itself or is it a byproduct of hitting a graving tool with a mallet? I've seen it on other blades, notably yagathan's with an Anatolian look where it seemed a later addition, but on this blade it seemed consistent with other manufacturing techniques. The 3rd picture from the bottom, that begins with a star, when I first saw it reminded me of Allah written seven times in a row, but when I looked closer I thought not. I would love a clearer detail of the silver work on the chape.

Hi Interested Party
Its hard to tell when these engravings were made, could be from the moment they entered Africa or later on demand of a client.
The method of engraving depends on the kind of tools the engraver uses, the shape of the point of the tool and how its been used. I've seen engravings with straight lines, dots, v shapes, triangles, and more. Two more foto's of the chape, hope they are clearer.
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Old 25th October 2020, 12:25 AM   #10
Jim McDougall
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Default odds and ends from old notes

This is a VERY nice takouba! and I just wanted to add some notes 'passim' from some years back. A guy who had been working in the Sahara and had acquired some takouba's noted one he had with a lion in a 'sphinx' like pose on the blade.
He got this in Ouagadougo, but said it had come from Arlit (north af Agadez)

The 1926 book, "People of the Veil" by Francis Rennell Rodd (p.233), notes that some 'masri' blades had the mark of a small couchant lion, and these marks on the blades were of course in line with the folk religion of the regions, imbued magic into the blades.
Rodd had been in the Air regions of Niger, which corresponds to the previous note of these marks in Agadez examples.

While the lion seems to have key symbolism in West Africa, it is interesting to note that these particular examples resemble trademarks using lion by C.Lutters & Co. from c. 1840s (Bezdek, p.147).

In the Sahara, the snake it seems has certain reference to a 'holy person' , and in Sudan it is seen on motif with the 'lohr' (prayer panel) along with religious symbolism. The snake is also often seen on Persian blades and symbolism, which often was prevalent Sudan.

There is a great deal of cross pollination of influences from Sahara into Sudan and vice versa, so it is hard to pinpoint exactly how these details fit together. But these notes perhaps might offer some insight into the takouba posted here.
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Old 26th October 2020, 07:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
This is a VERY nice takouba! and I just wanted to add some notes 'passim' from some years back. A guy who had been working in the Sahara and had acquired some takouba's noted one he had with a lion in a 'sphinx' like pose on the blade.
He got this in Ouagadougo, but said it had come from Arlit (north af Agadez)

The 1926 book, "People of the Veil" by Francis Rennell Rodd (p.233), notes that some 'masri' blades had the mark of a small couchant lion, and these marks on the blades were of course in line with the folk religion of the regions, imbued magic into the blades.
Rodd had been in the Air regions of Niger, which corresponds to the previous note of these marks in Agadez examples.

While the lion seems to have key symbolism in West Africa, it is interesting to note that these particular examples resemble trademarks using lion by C.Lutters & Co. from c. 1840s (Bezdek, p.147).

In the Sahara, the snake it seems has certain reference to a 'holy person' , and in Sudan it is seen on motif with the 'lohr' (prayer panel) along with religious symbolism. The snake is also often seen on Persian blades and symbolism, which often was prevalent Sudan.

There is a great deal of cross pollination of influences from Sahara into Sudan and vice versa, so it is hard to pinpoint exactly how these details fit together. But these notes perhaps might offer some insight into the takouba posted here.

Hi Jim
Thanks for your comment and the notes, i shall try too look them up.
Reading some recent and older posts on takouba's, there seems to be a great interest in the markings on these blades. beside this forum its hard too find any additionel info on these markings, especially the native ones.
We know that a lot of Europian blades came into Africa marked and unmarked, numbers are unknown i believe. Europian marks are mostly registerd so more easily traceable.Native markings are somewhat more difficult to date also place of origin and meaning. There is a great variety in quality and size of these markings. So just a thought, perhaps it could be an idea to start a thread where takouba and kaskara collectors post their blades with Europian and native markings for comparisation and discussion.
Greetings
Marc
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Old 5th November 2020, 05:23 AM   #12
Jim McDougall
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Hi Marc
Sorry for not responding on this. Actually while there is some degree of interest in the markings on blades, it is a topic not deeply studied nor referenced.
Mostly there is information included describing or noting markings but little iif anything on their meanings or regional applications.

With this I am referring to the native markings on North African sword blades of course. Regarding European markings, these do have a certain amount of reference in a number of compendiums of makers who have registered markings. These were somewhat controlled administratively so using those records numbers of collections of these are available in certain references.

These have been discussed here often over the past 20 years and using the search by describing the mark, i.e. running wolf; sickle marks etc. you will find threads on them.

However it is important to note that while many markings are listed for makers, there is a wide range of marks which were not specific to any particular maker, but applied generally as quality marks.

These were widely copied by native makers and importers, and these were often perceived in the sense of what the native folk religion or tradition perceived. For example, the cross and orb used in Germany and placed on blades in the manner noted re: quality, etc. was viewed by some tribes in Sudan as 'drum and sticks', an important symbol relegated to chiefs or important tribal figures.
The cross was seen not religiously, but as an indicator of the four cardinal directions and used symbolically in various reference to universality or encompassing power.

While many European blades did enter North Africa which were either surplus or trade intended, and were marked...there were indeed numbers of 'blanks' which did come in later in 19th c. whose numbers and disposition are unclear. After the Franco-Prussian war ended suddenly, Solingen was a bit overextended and produced numbers of these blades for export.

It is a very broad topic of course, and pretty much requires examples being examined on individual merits as organized or categorized classifications in these cases are not exactly feasible ordinarily. Still it is a good idea to try to assemble groupings as much as possible. I know, Ive been trying for well over 25 years now

Best
Jim
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Old 6th November 2020, 06:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Marc

While many European blades did enter North Africa which were either surplus or trade intended, and were marked...there were indeed numbers of 'blanks' which did come in later in 19th c. whose numbers and disposition are unclear. After the Franco-Prussian war ended suddenly, Solingen was a bit overextended and produced numbers of these blades for export.

Jim


Hi, Jim
Yes indeed, during the 19th cent. Solingen makers were quite active in the export trade, not only selling complete swords of military pattern to countries in Latin America, Asia, and even to the US, but also sold bare blades to parts of the world which had prior exposure to European swords in centuries past. In many cases, the style and markings were very close to the originals, certainly not current at the time.

Years ago, I had a Chinese sword, late Qing, with a blade that looked for all the world like it belonged on a 17th cent. European horseman's broadsword -- lenticular cross-section with three narrow fullers down the center. And with addorsed crescent moons, and "P D Lüneschloss Solingen" on each side, etched in somewhat rough letters imitating the hand-chiseled blade inscriptions of the 1600s. Only thing, Paul D Lüneschloss did not begin operations until 1810 (they were primarily a military weapons producer until the first half of the 20th cent.). Also, the fullers on this blade were obviously machine-cut, without the slight irregularities of pre-industrial work.

I tried to find images of the sword (taken in pre-digital age) but they are long gone. But I do recall seeing an identical blade mounted in a talwar hilt, in one of the catalogs of that longtime antique arms dealer in Miami Beach, Marv Hoffman, I'm sure you remember him.

Philip
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Old 6th November 2020, 10:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Philip
Hi, Jim
Yes indeed, during the 19th cent. Solingen makers were quite active in the export trade, not only selling complete swords of military pattern to countries in Latin America, Asia, and even to the US, but also sold bare blades to parts of the world which had prior exposure to European swords in centuries past. In many cases, the style and markings were very close to the originals, certainly not current at the time.

Years ago, I had a Chinese sword, late Qing, with a blade that looked for all the world like it belonged on a 17th cent. European horseman's broadsword -- lenticular cross-section with three narrow fullers down the center. And with addorsed crescent moons, and "P D Lüneschloss Solingen" on each side, etched in somewhat rough letters imitating the hand-chiseled blade inscriptions of the 1600s. Only thing, Paul D Lüneschloss did not begin operations until 1810 (they were primarily a military weapons producer until the first half of the 20th cent.). Also, the fullers on this blade were obviously machine-cut, without the slight irregularities of pre-industrial work.

I tried to find images of the sword (taken in pre-digital age) but they are long gone. But I do recall seeing an identical blade mounted in a talwar hilt, in one of the catalogs of that longtime antique arms dealer in Miami Beach, Marv Hoffman, I'm sure you remember him.

Philip



Thank you Philip!!! Always outstanding information and insights, and I also recall numbers of instances of PD Luneschloss. Mostly recall Victorian blades with the PDL in an oval on the blade. Its good to hear the note on the addorsed crescent moons, which of course became regarded as the near trademark on Hausa and Tuareg blades. Briggs seemed to consider that these were never in this paired configuration on European blades.

I do very much recall the Hoffman brothers!!! and those "Museum of Historical Arms" catalogs, which have become treasured little books for reference (usually). These used to turn up in old used book stores, and I would grab them, just for the memories (mostly 70s).
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Old 7th November 2020, 02:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

I do very much recall the Hoffman brothers!!! and those "Museum of Historical Arms" catalogs, which have become treasured little books for reference (usually). These used to turn up in old used book stores, and I would grab them, just for the memories (mostly 70s).


Hey Jim, did you ever add to your collection from their stock? Their catalogs were pretty rudimentary by today's marketing standards (like the glossy auction catalogs put out by RIA, Hermann, and Czerny, not to forget Peter Finer's hoity-toity productions where every item is "POR"). But back in the day, the Hoffmanns were among the few dealers who cranked out a wish book on glossy paper with every item photographed (haha, if only in small format against pegboard, it was better than the hand-drawn entries that Robert Abels of NY got away with for years). My eyes grow moist when I leaf through one of those old catalogs and look at the prices!
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