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Old 13th September 2020, 01:21 PM   #1
Marc M.
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Default Takouba and Kaskara

Greetings everyone
I am a new member of this forum, but knows and uses it for years if my library fails.
Collecting African objects for the last 28 years, mostly weapons and currency's
from central Africa and west Africa. I bought my first Takouba 15 years ago after visiting
an exposition about the Tuareg in the Tervuren museum in Belgium.
Fascinated since then, they did not seems to cross my path, until recently, I bought 2 Takoubaís and my first Kaskara.
The first Takouba is the one I bought 15 years ago and is of low quality. (photo j, k, l)
The blade is of poor quality with crude half-moon markings, Tuareg origin. Blade is flexible and sharp.
The second Takouba has what I believe a European military blade, and to what I have found of north Cameroon origin (Fulani). Strong, stiff blade, single edge and not so sharp. (photo g, h, i)
The third Takouba has a strong stiff blade, sharpened a lot, and no markings. Solid cast hilt and older mounts, perhaps from around north Cameroon. (photo d, e, f)
The Kaskara is my first one, stiff blade with some nicks in the edges (used in battle?), the disk pommel is missing and some of the handle wrapping in also missing. Cross gard is well made. (photo a, b, c)
The scabbard is odd and resemble a Takouba (97) in Ian Normanís Takouba research society.
The scabbard has a small flare tip. The texture off the blade is somewhat different and the circle marking is
a bit strange as well.
I am by no means an expert but just an enthusiast modest collector so any thoughts or info on these swords are more than welcome.

Best regards
Marc
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Last edited by Marc M. : 13th September 2020 at 02:59 PM.
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Old 13th September 2020, 05:29 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Marc, always great to see another takouba enthusiast. You have presented a nice little collection with some interesting examples. Is the takouba with the double fullered European blade single or double edged?

Teodor
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Old 13th September 2020, 06:25 PM   #3
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Default takouba and kaskara

Hello Teodor

The takouba with the double fullers is a single edge blade.
The pictures are not in the correct order with the tekst.
Thanks for the kind words.

Greetings
Marc
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Old 14th September 2020, 07:26 PM   #4
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Sabre takoubas tend to be rarer in my personal experience, and so this is a nice find. The leather wrap on the hilt has some similarity to a takouba shown in Waffen aus Zentral-Afrika by Johanna Agthe. The same page also shows a French sabre blade mounted with takouba fittings, though the hilt on it is all brass.

Teodor
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Old 15th September 2020, 04:27 PM   #5
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Default takouba and kaskara

Hi Teodor
I have that book: wafen aus zentral Afrika in my collection but it is the only picture i have from a takouba with that kind off handle.
No books on takouba's and kaskara's so, i've found the most info on this forum, and true the forum found Ian Norman's takouba research society.
He also mentions Wafen aus zentral Afrika along with a takouba (73) fulani, cameroon on his site. So i guess mine is also from that area, just as my example with the solid cast handle.
Every info on the swords is more than welcome.

Greetings
Marc
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Old 15th September 2020, 06:35 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum Marc, and its exciting to have another 'enthusiast' on North African swords here!!! I say that because we are together 'enthusiasts' studying and learning together. The term 'expert' is an honorific usually overrated.

Nice kaskara! a good sound example. Keep in mind these are typically not extremely old as far as the mounts, but often the blades can date into the latter 19th century. There was no widespread use of 'kaskara' until the Mahdist period of the 1880s-90s, and from there a degree of use mostly traditional wear. From the early 1900s there was nominal use only but it was not until about 1940s that production began again notable and in the Kasalla region .

While 20th century sounds disappointing to many for 'antique weapons' remember ethnographic arms remained in actual use among tribal peoples well through the 20th c. and in some places, still are.

The takouba is still very much an 'active' weapon, though more of a men's accouterment than combative weapon. As you are well aware of Ian Norman's site, that is one of the most resounding reference sources on the various types and key identification details.

On the one with curved blade, apparantly a French saber blade, these are of course more common to regions of West Africa with that colonial presence.
As I have understood, the curved blade versions are termed 'aljuinar'.
The thing with takouba is, like the sa'if known as 'niimcha' in Algeria and Morocco, these tended to use trade blades often beyond the preferred broadswords of kaskara and takouba. With the nimcha, considered a saber, you would see them with straight broadsword blades as well, which illustrates the propensity to use whatever blade was available.

Thank you for posting these great examples! and hopefully we will have more input toward more detail on each one. It is sometimes hard to address matters on a particular sword in a grouping of photos as it becomes confused as to which one is being referred to.
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Old 16th September 2020, 06:55 PM   #7
Marc M.
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Default takuba and kaskara

Hi Teodor
Thanks for the tip on the wafen aus zentral Afrika book. That book is in my collection and is the only picture i've found in my books about this type of sword . Since there are no books as far as i known about takouba's and kaskara's, the forum my biggest sources on these swords.
Hello Jim
Thank you for the welcome and the additional info on the swords.
I shall post pictures of the swords one by one and some info.
Greetings
Marc
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Old 16th September 2020, 09:13 PM   #8
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Hi Marc ! Nice to see another takouba lover on the forum !

The one with the brass hilt has a nice blade, albeit sharpened alot, it could even be an European trade blade, considering the regularity of the fuller (don't quote me on that though !). The hilt is really unusuam and, as is often the case, most likely later, though it does show some wear. My guess would be second quarter of the 20th century or slightly later. Indeed, I don't think aluminium was widly available in Africa before WWI, and this style (heavy brass base, with copper and aluminum, and triangular shapes), although I can't precisely pinpoint it, is very reminiscent in my opinion of what can be seen on modern decorative daggers and short swords from Niger (see post 4 here : http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=agadez), the chape of the sheath is also very reminiscent of what can be seen on some small knives from Agadez (see mine for example : http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26194). Niger could thus be an option for the mounts, in my opinion; in anyway, that's a nice "modern" twist on a traditional design and I like it !

Onto the Tuareg one (the design and ornamentation of the guard definitely look Tuareg, at least according to what Morel wrote on the subject), it is indeed a rather recent one (post ww2), mostly given the shape of the pommel (very flat), however the blade is definitely not one of the ugliest I've seen, with a clear and rather regular fuller (as opposed to the symbolic grooves you can see on some examples).

Finally, the single-edged, or Aljuinar as Jim rightfully pointed out, is indeed a textbook example of saber-like takouba that Iain Norman described as being from Nothern Cameroon. The blade on this one is really interesting, is the close-up you posted a repair ? Do you think it is forge welded ?


Anyway, thanks for posting those nice swords, and don't take anything I wrote at face value, as I am myself just a mere beginner in the study of those amazing weapons !
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Old 19th September 2020, 01:40 PM   #9
Marc M.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yvain
Hi Marc ! Nice to see another takouba lover on the forum !

The one with the brass hilt has a nice blade, albeit sharpened alot, it could even be an European trade blade, considering the regularity of the fuller (don't quote me on that though !). The hilt is really unusuam and, as is often the case, most likely later, though it does show some wear. My guess would be second quarter of the 20th century or slightly later. Indeed, I don't think aluminium was widly available in Africa before WWI, and this style (heavy brass base, with copper and aluminum, and triangular shapes), although I can't precisely pinpoint it, is very reminiscent in my opinion of what can be seen on modern decorative daggers and short swords from Niger (see post 4 here : http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ighlight=agadez), the chape of the sheath is also very reminiscent of what can be seen on some small knives from Agadez (see mine for example : http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=26194). Niger could thus be an option for the mounts, in my opinion; in anyway, that's a nice "modern" twist on a traditional design and I like it !

Onto the Tuareg one (the design and ornamentation of the guard definitely look Tuareg, at least according to what Morel wrote on the subject), it is indeed a rather recent one (post ww2), mostly given the shape of the pommel (very flat), however the blade is definitely not one of the ugliest I've seen, with a clear and rather regular fuller (as opposed to the symbolic grooves you can see on some examples).

Finally, the single-edged, or Aljuinar as Jim rightfully pointed out, is indeed a textbook example of saber-like takouba that Iain Norman described as being from Nothern Cameroon. The blade on this one is really interesting, is the close-up you posted a repair ? Do you think it is forge welded ?


Anyway, thanks for posting those nice swords, and don't take anything I wrote at face value, as I am myself just a mere beginner in the study of those amazing weapons !

Hi Yvain
Glad to be on this forum, the combined knowledge from the members is a great source of information to me, so verry pleased with your info.
On the takouba saber its not a repair but its a damaged part of the blade, a piece is missing.I shall post some extra pictures of the swords one by one.

Greetings
Marc
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Old 20th September 2020, 10:20 PM   #10
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Hi Marc,

You're right, learning from each other is one of the great strength of this forum ! Though as I am but a student on the subject, do not take for granted what I said, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of your swords !
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Old 29th September 2020, 06:05 PM   #11
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Greetings
At last i've found some time to take more pictures of the swords,its going slow but one by one.
First is the takouba saber (aljuinar) probably from the Nigerian/Cameroon border (Fulani?) its a single edge, double fuller blade, military grade blade (French). No markings on the blade.
Flexible, light but strong blade. Only the last 20 cm near the tip is sharp, there is a damage on the blade, a piece is missing probably during the forging/ hardening proces.
The handle is wrapped with leather strings,brass pommel.The crossgard is in leather with simple decorations on both sides. The scabbard is simple in decorations but well made at the tip same style of leather wrapping as on the grip, mounts are missing.
Measurements: oal 95 cm; blade lenght 77cm; blade at the handle 3,2 cm; thick 7 mm at the handle.
Looking forwards on your comments/ feedback.

Marc
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Old 4th October 2020, 02:08 PM   #12
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Hi
More pictures and info off the takouba with the brass handle.
Solid brass handle, on the cross gard are two small copper plates, in the center a triangular shape in what appears a lead covering. The pommel is ovoid rather small with one copper plate on top. Similar examples on the net indicates its from the Cameroon/Nigerean area.
Its a single fuller blade, the fuller is well made,not grinded. The blade has a good flex, sharp and looks like it has been sharpend a lot, with the typical ruff markings on the edges.The scabard is in a good condition with some decorations on the leather but fairly simple, round brass rings on the mounts.
I have no idea off age and origin of the blade so comments are verry welcome.
Oal; 96.3 cm, sword lenght; 95.7 cm, blade lenght; 82 cm, blade wide; 4.5 cm,
blade thickness at the handle; 4.3mm, at the tip; 2.2 mm.

Greetings
Marc
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Old 10th October 2020, 02:38 PM   #13
Marc M.
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Greetings
The first takouba i bought 15 Years ago. Its a low quality touareg sword, seems well used,traditionel handle and crossguard with classic decoration , the slighty oval stacked pommel made out off iron, brass and alluminium.
Native made blade with a short single fuller grinded in the blade. Two crudely made dukari on each side off the blade. The blade is shorter and thinner than my other takouba blades, verry flexable as well. The last 20 cm is sharpend,
showing the typical rough markings. The leather scabard has some decorations butt again off low quality.
Oal; 86,5 cm,sword lenght; 86 cm, blade lenght; 65 cm, blade wide; 5,3 cm,
thick; 2.5 mm from handle to tip.
Comments are verry mutch welcome.

Marc
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Old 11th October 2020, 03:25 PM   #14
Marc M.
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Greetings
The first takouba i bought 15 Years ago. Its a low quality touareg sword, seems well used,traditionel handle and crossguard with classic decoration , the slighty oval stacked pommel made out off iron, brass and alluminium.
Native made blade with a short single fuller grinded in the blade. Two crudely made dukari on each side off the blade. The blade is shorter and thinner than my other takouba blades, verry flexable as well. The last 20 cm is sharpend,
showing the typical rough markings. The leather scabard has some decorations butt again off low quality.
Oal; 86,5 cm,sword lenght; 86 cm, blade lenght; 65 cm, blade wide; 5,3 cm,
thick; 2.5 mm from handle to tip.
Comments are verry mutch welcome.

Marc
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