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Old 20th July 2022, 11:55 PM   #1
francantolin
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Default Nice takouba sword for comments

Hello dear members,
I want to show you this takouba sword,
I think it is not really old but I found it is a large and lovely model , not too expensive and this time,
my wife found the sword really nice so I can hang it on the living wall ( and not cellar or private desk....😅&#128578

It has a nice silver mounts hilt and scabbard part and it is an heavy model,
I think a local made but large and heavy blade with well carved 5 deep fullers with ostrich-royal crane ? Symbol on each side

Not the classic deco-tuareg sword

I didn't know if tuareg chiefs had this kind of swords or if it has been later decorated for $$tourists....
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Old 21st July 2022, 12:02 AM   #2
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And the large multi fullered blade and the ''ostrich'' ?
bird engraved on each side

Glad if anyone know this tuareg(?) bird symbol ...

Kind regards
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Old 21st July 2022, 12:56 AM   #3
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I agree with your age assessment, and I also agree that the silver fittings are much higher grade than what is usually found on more modern takoubas. Five fullers are also a relatively rare feature and the whole sword looks like a status piece, and not a souvenir. Personally, I find it a very aesthetically pleasing as well and I am sure it would look great on your living room's wall.
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Old 21st July 2022, 01:02 AM   #4
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Although some parts look like they have a silver patina, other parts have strange hue. Might be good to go to a jeweler and have the metal tested for silver or nickel/copper content.
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Old 21st July 2022, 02:40 PM   #5
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Hello,

Thank you both for your message,
Maybe it is low grade local silver with nickel
even if in Sahara silver work is everywhere and don't cost much ( I was ten years ago in Tamanrasset,
Really quiet and lovely place !!!

I will buy silver test acid,
maybe better than go to a jeweller walking with my sword ...
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Old 21st July 2022, 02:46 PM   #6
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I forgot:
I think- guess the hilt had been strongly cleaned by the seller.

Kind regards
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Old 21st July 2022, 05:06 PM   #7
Lee
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Thumbs up Yes, this is a good one

I have heard these relatively uncommon silver mounted takoubas referred to as "wedding" takoubas by a Tuareg owner of one. I suspect that they are mostly commissioned by more 'urban' Tuareg who have come into some cash, as opposed to chiefs living the traditional pastoral nomadic life. Of course, they often do 'end' as a prize for the traveler willing to overpay.

The silverwork (teben) is of a style typical for silversmithing done in Agadez, Niger. The five fullered blades are locally termed takouba tamougass. In my limited experience, the blades so mounted have been good old heirloom blades of European manufacture.

Besides details of workmanship and markings, the old trade blades will feel springy if you hold the blade at your side and slap the side of your leg with the flat. Locally made blades will feel more rigid and 'dead.' You can see that the blade has been reshaped by repeated sharpening, particularly the tip, suggesting it does have some age and probably had an earlier set of mountings.

You would more commonly see (two decades ago) many sorts of big 'fantasy' knives with a similar style of silverwork in the market. These were clearly for the tourist while a tourism 'industry' briefly existed in the area back then.
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Old 21st July 2022, 09:39 PM   #8
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Nice one, and a real "cut above" most of the Takouba seen here.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 05:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by francantolin View Post
I forgot:
I think- guess the hilt had been strongly cleaned by the seller.
Perhaps over cleaned to where patina is missing from the design grooves. That might explain a lot.

But mixing silver and nickel - not likely since the heat differentials would damage the silver.
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Old 22nd July 2022, 01:57 PM   #10
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The condition of the silver appears unremarkable to me. I have a similar example before me, two decades out of the Sahara environment with brightness remaining to a good degree in many of the engraving cuts. My example was not new when I acquired it in Agadez. It may be that they do not use the sorts of silver polish that we do and that there is not much sulfur in the environment. (Silver stays bright without polishing where I live today, as well.) Now and then one of these might have been outside during a sandstorm and received a bit of a sandblasting as well. (I have read of the paint being removed from vehicles caught outside in such a storm.) I was also told that leatherwork could come to look very old after just about five years use in that environment. Age of our examples? - maybe 1980s to 1990s.

I have seen "the bird" before, but do not know its significance.
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Old 23rd July 2022, 04:50 PM   #11
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Nice sword, mounds and scabbard are more modern. Blade looks older and is of a good quality, the 5 fullers are indeed rare. The fullers are well made, straight and equal and i think the blade is probably of European make.
Would like to find a sword like yours. Great buy.

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Old 23rd July 2022, 05:01 PM   #12
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Very nice sword, mounds and scabbard are more modern than the blade.
Too me it look looks more Europian than local.
The fullers are straight and equal and the whole quality of the blade looks very good. Bird symbol looks local made.
Would like to find a sword like yours, great find.

Kind regards
Marc
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Old 24th July 2022, 12:29 AM   #13
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Thank you all for the detailled comments !
Really nice model Lee !!
I thought earlier 40s-50s made silver work but...
Glad to hear the blade is an old one
heavy blade but flexible. Try to make ''sound'' it !
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Old 24th July 2022, 08:11 PM   #14
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I noted five 5-fullered kaskaras in my Kaskara Fullers paper. One was collected in 1881-82 and mine was reported made in 1914 in Kassala. Five fullers are called Mukhammas.
From the paper"
"Mukhammas (Arabic ‘fivefold’) refers to a type of Persian or Urdu cinquain or
pentastich with Sufi connections based on a pentameter and have five lines in
each paragraph. More details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukhammas

Native and Arabic poetry is a feature of Sudanese culture. But who would have thought that a special Kassala-made sword blade (5 channels are much more difficult to make than 3 fullers) would have a link to a Persian and Urdu (Muslim part of India) poetry form? There may be a prosaic explanation. Mukhammas may be just a grammatic feature of Arabic for Five = Khamsa, but I
prefer the poetry connection."

Your blade may have had a Sudanese connection, and likely origin. Five fullers would make your blade special regardless of its origin.

Best,
Ed
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Old 1st August 2022, 10:57 AM   #15
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Default Takouba bird

Hi Francantolin,
Really nice Takouba. I like the esthetics and the geometric decoration. I don't know much about them, but I do know a bit about birds (the avian kind). This is no Ostrich. There are more likely candidates. Perhaps the most likely is Black Crowned Crane - a common bird (in the past) of the Sahel and adjacent wetlands. I say this because of the long legs, upright body posture and the "crown".
I wonder why some benign birds like this are used as symbols on weapons. Jordanian and South Palestinians use the dove as a symbol. Anyway, this is my two-cents addition.
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Old 2nd August 2022, 11:05 PM   #16
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Thank you all for your messages and sorry for the late reply.
Thank you Ed for the five-khemsa esoteric or muslim symbol and a possible sudanese origin.

Yes Motan , I wrote ostrich- royal.crane on my first message, I saw what seems to be a stylized ''crown'' around the head .
Just an idea : the blade of these large takoubas and especially the tip looks like an ostrich beak
Massive ( 1,1 kg sword without scabbard ) unsharpened and large 15 first centimeters but then razorblade sharp utilise the tip,
Efficient ike an ostrich attack !
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Old 2nd August 2022, 11:11 PM   #17
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I wanted to share these pics: verso of the handle and ''zoom'' of the fullered part of the blade.
Maybe or maybe not european trade blade but nice quality

Kind regards
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Old 3rd August 2022, 01:07 AM   #18
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Beautiful sword. Love your slightly awkward chicken (or ostrich, or crane, whichever it might be). }|<o)
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