From the collection of: Mauro Coltorti
Late 19th or early 20th century mounts likely - the blade possibly 18th century. Tuareg.
This takouba carries a European blade with interesting engravings. Along the blade there are a series of decoration. The part close to the guard has a large crescent moon with three stars; few centimenters below is a sun and some other stars followed by an “hand issuant from a garment and holding a sword”. The sword of the decoration seems to have a typical XVI-XVII century style with a large pommel and guard. The hand has also a peculiar shirtsleeve. All these decorations are found together in blades reported by Cabott Briggs Lloyd (1965) that cite Weysemberg (1926, pag.34, himself citing Cronau, 1885) that attribute it to Peter Munch, a famous XVII century blade maker in Solingen. He also mention that similar decorated blades were also described by Zoher (1953) that found them in Tamesna, south west of Agadir and also attributed to XVII century German blade smiths. It should be noted Briggs suspected these marks could not in fact be attributed to Munch. A similar drawing is found in the coat of arm of Latvia, that was part of Germany. Lhote (1954) stated that similar decorations were firstly made in Italy in the XVII century and than adopted in France and Germany in the XVIII century. The maker marks of Peter Munich, either the older (1595-1660) and the younger (1620-1680) are different from these engravings but the “hand holding a sword” is one of the symbols that appear in the marks of both sword makers. A similar symbol was apparently used in the banner of Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus and 1803 sword blades made by J.J. Runkel also had this symbols. As with many popular engravings and patterns these marks were repeated and reused as can be seen from the proceeding references. In the context of this sword the blade is most likely to be an XVIII century product although there is the possibility that it could be older.
The blade of this sword is of very good quality and has a triple fuller pattern, however the central fuller is slightly larger and deeper than usual while the other two are shallower. They run for the entire length although are consumed along the rounded point. The edges are parallel at the forte and than tapers down but return parallel at the very end. The blade shows sharpening over many, many years. This, in conjunction with the engravings, likely means this blade is 18th century and certainly European. No other marks are present and the typical half moons are not applied. The blade has obviously been shortened from being re-hilted as some of the engraving is obscured by the guard.
The hilt is classic Tuareg, with a stacked pommel and leather grip and guard. The pommel is better made than most and features two interesting "dots" of copper or dark brass on the edges of the disc that forms the base of the pommel. As noted above, this is almost certainly not the first hilt placed with this blade, but is of high quality and a good match for the blade.
Takouba with these blades are unusual - certainly not as common as the many 19th century triple fuller blades imported and then marked with the half moon stamps. This is a very good example in good condition and showing all the signs of the long, working life it had.
Overall: 36.5" (93 cm)
Blade length: about 30.5" (77 cm)
Width of the blade base: 1 3/4" (4.5 cm)