From the collection of: Iain Norman


second quarter of the 19th century probable. Possibly earlier. Hausa.


A very interesting piece acquired at auction in Sweden. The hilt assembly is brass, heavy duty in construction and well balanced. The pommel is in an old style, very well formed, slight bend at one edge. Guard features interesting decorative motif detailed via pointillism. The entire assembly is covered in a brown substance which appears to be a native application as I have now observed it on several other Hausa pieces.

The base of the blade features an odd assemble with a set of riveted plates supporting the blade at the shoulder. These plates sandwich the blade, with the edge wrapping around on the sides, rather than the blade terminating when it meets the plates. Therefore the plates appear to be re-enforcement rather than a repair to an older blade. The style is reminiscent of some Indian mountings.

The blade itself is well made, good quality half moon stamps and well forged fullers. Flex is excellent and the edge very keen. Tip exhibits an unusual point, which on first examination might be assumed to be the over sharpening often seen on Tuareg blades. However it is a deliberate shape from the forging of the weapon and seems designed as a piercing tip. Possibly to overcome the use of lifidi (quilted cotton armor) in use among Hausa cavalry.

Overall, a good example of a non-Tuareg takouba with several unique characteristics.