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Old 15th September 2020, 07:35 PM   #6
Jim McDougall
Arms Historian
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Posts: 8,201

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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