From the collection of: Chris Topping


19th century likely - possibly Yoruba.


Very unusual sword with solid cast brass/bronze hilt which appears plated (possibly gold, still to be verified). Very ornate casting and carving work on hilt. Lost wax process for the casting is skillfully executed with the tang passing through a central tube while the main hilt is hollow. Pommel is nicely formed with an almost architectural pommel stack.

Blade is surprisingly sharp and exhibits all the signs of a fighting weapon with edge nicks and dings. The steel appears slightly soft (judging by edge damage) but this is typical for native steels. Three rough fullers are incised into the blade, obviously for symbolic/talismanic purposes rather than any real function.

The takouba form appears to be more an imitation than anything else increasingly the probability that this piece is from West Africa rather than the Sahel proper and the result of the extensive influence of the Hausa and later Fulani beyond their nominal borders.

Overall, while at first glance the piece might appear more ceremonial in function, the obvious signs of use put this squarely in the realm of a ‘user.’ The probability is high that this was owned by a person of considerable rank and influence.


(coming soon)