From the collection of: Iain Norman


Early to mid 19th century although 18th century perhaps possible - probably Bornu regions although perhaps Hausa.


Pommel is brass and appears to be of cast construction, shows great age and patina with holes due to age evident. Globular and weighty provides excellent balance. Pommel is capped with a bronze Egyptian 5 milliemes coin from either 1938 or 1943 (the only years with the scalloped edges), a later addition to the sword as evidenced by the obvious lack of patina on the end of the tang in contrast to the rest of the sword. This late modification is also born out by the shortness of the hilt and leather work.

Blade is massive, almost triangular. This form is often associated with high status pieces owned and wielded by figures of importance in the military and palace structures. No markings or fullering what so ever. Tip form is not due to sharpening but forged precisely. Blade would be very capable of stabbing. Edge nicks indicated heavy use over it’s life.

Pitting on the blade and general patina, coupled with pommel patina indicated a very old example of a high quality takouba likely belonging to a chieftain and passed down through the generations.

Originally I suspected this blade might be Tuareg but after seeing and handling a few swords from the Bornu regions, this sword seems to share some characteristics. The style of leather work, the fact that I have photos of Bornu riders from the early 1900s carrying wide blades and the style of the steel all point to this being a likely area. Where as Tuareg do not appear to have used wide blades. If the coin was added in the 1940s I would not be surprised. Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was still in existence and bordered on French Equatorial Africa. A not unlikely area for Egyptian currency to appear. The coin was probably added as pure decoration, but perhaps as a sign of the owner’s wealth. An interesting testimony to the longevity of these weapons.


{coming soon}