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Old 2nd June 2019, 02:59 AM   #1
rockelk
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Default Telek ?

This was acquired in Morocco. Does this qualify as a Telek ?. The blade is substantial and possesses a strong spring. I suspect this steel is of a European source with two complete fullers on each side. The blade alone is 13.5 inches. It seems rather long for a arm dagger. It has the feel of a real weapon. The grip appears very similar to a post by a “Vandoo” 7/05/2011, of course, the attached photo was of only the hilt. Any opinions as to its age?
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Old 2nd June 2019, 07:30 AM   #2
Tim Simmons
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A good example, shame the arm loop is missing.
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Old 2nd June 2019, 08:34 AM   #3
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I agree that's a very nice one
I don't like Telek i think Tuareg is more correct.
Very nice 18th or 19th c European blade... same as sbula Moroccan daggers...
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Old 3rd June 2019, 03:42 PM   #4
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Default Telek?

S'bula, I looked up the Subla and found a reference describing the use of a label (sp.) bayonet. the bayonet was a four sided device some what like an epee. as such, it would not have two fullers. the description was in French s. I don't understand French, so , I have to plead ignorance.
With Regards, rm
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Old 4th June 2019, 02:03 AM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Rockelk, this is a quite interesting example of a Tuareg arm dagger, which is termed by them a 'telek'. The Tuareg are confederations of tribes which are primarily nomadic and inhabit Saharan regions from Tunisia all the way to Morocco, and regions throughout in between.

This example has the typical 'cross' (sometimes termed the Agades cross) which is symbolic in degree to these tribes not as a religious icon, but loosely signifies the four cardinal directions, north, south,east and west.
This same cross, and other variations are often seen on the 'horn' of their camel saddles. (attached image below).

According to anthropologist Lloyd Cabot Briggs in his "European Blades in Tuareg Swords and Daggers", (JAAS, Vol.V, #2, 1965) in the two plates attached below, this hilt form is attributed to the Ajjer regions (SE Algeria, see map circled in red) which is located on transSaharan trade routes.

The blade on this example you show is certainly European, quite likely 18th century. These blades were typically cut down, and they remained in use for many generations. Therefore, the mounts on yours are probably fairly recent, within the last 50 years or so.

In the 'Briggs' drawings, the blocked area at the forte often added to these cut down blades is a bolster termed 'adabal'. Yours seems to be without that feature. The examples in Briggs are from cut down 17th century rapier blades from Europe, which are of course quite narrow. Yours is a heavier 'arming' blade, but blades were used indiscriminately as available.

Very attractive example!
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Old 4th June 2019, 02:23 AM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Default On the S'boula

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockelk
S'bula, I looked up the Subla and found a reference describing the use of a label (sp.) bayonet. the bayonet was a four sided device some what like an epee. as such, it would not have two fullers. the description was in French s. I don't understand French, so , I have to plead ignorance.
With Regards, rm



Getting to the S'boula topic, this is of course a Moroccan dagger which while having nothing to do with Tuareg arm daggers (telek) technically, do share the characteristic of being host to many forms of foreign blades, often European.

As the French were the primary occupying power in much of the Sahara, and into Morocco, their weapons furnished many indigenous weapons with blades.
The French bayonets most commonly found their way into the variations of s'boula and djenoui (janwi) and were usually,
The M1886 Lebel bayonet (shown below with light hilt)
The M1874 gras bayonet (shown with wood hilt and steel pommel)

The Lebel had a cruciform cross section resembling a fencing epee.



There were no set 'rules' or preferences but throughout Berber regions (the broader scope of tribal Sahara) the narrow, armor piercing (needle) points seem predominant in many of the edged weapons.

In the plate showing s'boula among Moroccan weapons, those between them are of course koummya. A koummya with straight blade is termed a janwi as mentioned earlier.

The images of the 'H' shape hilt daggers are s'boula (the image of the man with gun is wearing one), and these shown are of course with cut down sword blades.
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Old 4th June 2019, 06:42 AM   #7
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Just looking through Briggs further (1965, op. cit. p.43), and found this on the TELEK:
It is noted that these telek from Ajjar, where the Tuareg's main sources of European trade goods were Tunis and Tripoli to the north. Therefore it is not surprising that the only known European blades mounted in these arm daggers appear to be of North Italian origin.
I have reattached the two illustration plates from Briggs, in which these are both mounted with Milanese blades.

It describes these daggers as worn along the inner side of the forearm with the hilt downward in a kind of 'quick draw' fashion.

It is further notes that many of these ended up in Morocco through returning Camel Corps officers. Briggs (1909-1975) was a Harvard anthropologist who wrote this in 1965, but had been stationed in Algeria with Strategic Services during WWII.

Again, the map shows the Ajjar region in red circle.

I hope this might add to the appreciation of this excellent example.
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Old 4th June 2019, 06:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockelk
S'bula, I looked up the Subla and found a reference describing the use of a label (sp.) bayonet. the bayonet was a four sided device some what like an epee. as such, it would not have two fullers. the description was in French s. I don't understand French, so , I have to plead ignorance.
With Regards, rm



While these bayonet blades found notable use through the Sahara and of course in the s'boula, I personally have not been aware of them being used in Tuareg arm daggers. As Briggs notes, these Tuareg daggers are usually with European blades, those being primarily Italian.
With ethnographic weapons though, one can expect anomalies. so if any such examples are known ,they would be welcome here.
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:28 PM   #9
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Very nice tuareg telek dagger Rockelk, with a nice blade as well. The South Algeria attribution is supported by an example in the Quai Branly Museum, which Iain found sometime ago, and also by Tristan Arbousse Bastide - link to a thread below, where Tim Simmons uploaded some scans from Arbousse Bastide's book:

http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=22555
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Old 4th June 2019, 07:15 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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Thanks very much for that great link Teodor!
In looking back at it I noted the interesting entry in the rather obscure (and with unfortunate and dated title), " Weapons and Implements of Savage Races" (Montague, 1921). (see image below)
Here is an arm dagger attributed to the Kanuri of Bornu, situated to the south of Ajjer regions in Nigeria.
It is not surprising to see these similar forms diffuse into contiguous regions with these nomadic peoples.
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Old 4th June 2019, 07:21 PM   #11
rockelk
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Default Telek construction

Regarding the “Adabal”, the grip (hardwood) had a makeshift leather repair hiding the area of where the Adabal might be. I removed the repair piece of leather which was stitched together (easy to put back together) with a single strand of copper wire. The knife / sword appears to have been repaired / resurrected at least once. Underneath are broken rivets, copper and steel, broken and missing brass ornaments.
Using a magnet, I can tell the tang is at least 4” long, going back past the Agades cross area. The bolster has metal wedges driven in on both sides perhaps this is an internal alternative to a adabal. The remaining void filled with some material similar to an adhesive, resulting in a grip that feels quite secure.
further, I want to express a sincere appreciation of the effort expended by the people here and the extensive resources this site has at hand, rm
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Old 5th June 2019, 03:13 PM   #12
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RM, thank you for the kind words and especially for the added insight on the construction and detail on your fine example. It helps add to the material we try to assemble for future reference and research.
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