From the collection of: Lee Jones


Blade likely 18th century, hilting probably 19th century at the earliest - assumed Tuareg.


This takouba may look rough on the outside, but it is in fact one of the most interesting and rare takouba I have come across. Now passed into the hands of a good friend and fellow collector with far more experience in European blades than myself. Still, I want to set down a few notes of my own. I do have to apologize for the quality of the photos, I never did get really great images of this sword.

This piece features a blade that is highly unusual to find in takouba for several reasons. First, it features the running wolf, associated with Passau (later also used in Solingen). This marking is occasionally encountered in takouba, but is invariably NOT a European marking, but a native addition to a local or trade blade. This marking is not like the typical native marks encountered and may well be European. The depth and aging around the mark does not seem recent to me, but rather, consistent with the wear and age of the blade overall. However, as a caveat, I have no way to be sure this wasn’t added locally, the immitation of marks was widespread and the native smiths rather ingenious at times with copying them. This may be a native copy, but if so I haven’t seen a similar one before, usually astral symbols, crude wolves and the cross and orb symbol are scratched into the blade. Or uniformly stamped, not chiseled as this is.

This is not one of the usual pattern made trade blades found in takouba or kaskara. The blade is hollow ground and likely German with similarities to hollow ground blades from the 18th century. All I can say with certainty is that it is one of the stiffest blades I’ve seen on a takouba with very high quality steel and not one of the more usual European export blades found in these swords. Please keep in mind I am not an expert in European blade manufacture but I am familiar with the export patterns usually found in kaskara and takouba. I am positive the blade is not of local manufacture and it is not the typical Solingen import pattern from the 19th century.

The mounting is of course more recent. The blade is sandwiched into a new forte, of very thick steel, both pinned and welded into place. This is a typical method encountered in Tuareg work. Obviously this blade had a long life and the new mounts allowed it to continue. The tip has obviously been reduced over the centuries by sharpening. The result is a very thick, solid mounting, fitting the stiff nature of the original blade.

The hilt is a typical leather covered affair, but more solid than usually encountered. Pommel shows age related wear and probably dates to the late 19th century.


{coming soon}