From the collection of: Iain Norman
19th century - likely Hoggar Tuareg (Kel Ahaggar)
This is a highly unusual sword with several unique features. The blade started life as a single edged design, but the last third of the blade has been modified to be double edged. The marks on the blade would at first indicate European origin. 'Twig' marks, sickle marks and Latin letters. In many ways it appears to be Italian and of a form popular in the 17th century. However many of these swords were exported to the Indian market and Indian smiths made many blades of a similar style and with copied marks.
This may well be an Indian blade and research is ongoing to see if that can be determined. In any case, the blade has had a long life and was remounted with a typical 'sandwich' mount made from a single piece of steel serving as the new forte, split and the older blade inserted. No pins appear to be present so the fit seems to rely on forge welding. Unusually the forte is highly decorated with geometric patterns.
The hilt is also unusual, a round, European rain guard-like circle of decorated brass is present. This feature is rarely seen. Takouba 110 on this site is one, there is also one published in Briggs' work on Tuareg swords from an Algerian museum. The pommel is of the typical older style, large and domed. The guard is further decorated with the presence of red and green cloth underneath the brass guard plates, showing the color through the cutouts in the guard plate.
Overall this is one of the more interesting swords to pass through my hands in recent years with a wonderful combination of so many of the traits that make takouba unique swords.