From the collection of: Iain Norman


19th century - Possibly Yoruba?


This is an exceptional takouba with a very hefty European blade and a silvered brass hilt.

The hilt is of an unusual type, being silvered brass with pronounced repousse work. The decorative elements are of a design I have not encountered before. It does not correspond to the usual decorative designs found on Hausa/Nupe and other brass hilted takouba. The motifs and style match best a cast hilt that I had tentatively labelled Yoruba (Takouba 57) based on motifs in Yoruba metal works such as jewelry. This seems reasonably likely ethnic group, they were takouba users according to accounts like the British Captain Jones of the Egba (Yoruba group) army in 1861 and authors like Smith in Yoruba Armament specifically note they used takouba as well. The Yoruba were also renown metal workers and the lion had great significance in their culture.

The pommel is oval in form, heavy and made from iron. It may have had a silvered brass top at one point. A brass medial ridge is still visible.

The blade is European with a thick ricasso and a lion engraving. The form is somewhat unusual and not typical for blades encountered in takouba or kaskara. The reverse of the blade bears a strange mark with a circle and upright line. In some ways it resembles a cross and orb, but without the cross piece. The blade has a reformed tip from extensive sharpening and the usual preference with takouba for a rounded profile.


Overall: 95.5cm

Blade length: 81.7cm

Width of blade at base: 5.4cm

Width of ricasso at base: 3.7mm