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Old 28th October 2020, 11:14 PM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,018

Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
It appears that in the construction of this takouba, the crossguard must have been damaged or broken away, leaving the remainder of the sword intact.
The blade is clearly European, and does seem early, of the broadsword type which saw use in schiavona and various types of sword in Europe.

While this type fuller resembles those on 17th century examples, it seems to have existed earlier as well of course, as a pretty standard form.
I think we can safely presume this blade is probably 17th century European especially with the character described with its tempering.

The metal plate is an affectation occurring on many Tuareg takouba and if I recall, I think the term is 'adabal' in description. Iain Norman has accurately described these as 'sandwich' type mounts, and suggests they were used in mounting damaged blades.
Here however, it seems clear that the blade did not require such support and the 'mount' was more decorative.

The question then becomes, were these metal plates (some iron,some brass) aesthetic or structural?

It would seem that as influences are spread culturally through diverse tribal expanses across the Sahel and Sahara, it might be a little of both. While in cases where structural integrity needed attention might have obviously placed these 'plates' accordingly, others may have seen them as decorative design features,offering more surface for decorative motif.

Perhaps it became simply a symbolic feature suggesting some sort of imbuement in the sword itself, as often the case with markings etc. which were seen as imbuements of magic and power.

We can only speculate on these factors of course, and any resultant theories would be mitigated by the character of the peoples using the weapons.
In many cases, the shapes of the blades,as well as the materials selected in the construction of each sword are symbolic factors as well.
Hey Jim,

I'm thinking along the same lines as you are. My guess is that the blade is 16th or 17th century European. From what I can see from some of the plate separation is that the blade looks normal from the shoulder into the plates. I don't think it is a rewelded blade. I have wondered if there was a blade marking that was covered for some reason. Maybe they didn't like the marking. Otherwise, in this case, it seems purely decorative. Can't see any other reason why it would be on there.
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