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Scott Moore




Location: Maine,USA
Joined: 22 Aug 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2010 10:53 am    Post subject: Sword I.D.?         Reply with quote

Hello All.This isn't my first post,but they have been rare ,due to my seriously substandard typing skills.
I am hoping that someone in the community can help with a positive I.D. on a sword I acquired many years ago in a used book and curio shop in Maine.Given the maritime heritage here it could have come from anywhere.The closest resemblance I have seen to this hilt pattern was on a Benin bronze sculpture. The length overall is about 40 inches ,weight just under 2 pounds.The blade is sharp,well tempered,but thin to the point of being a bit whippy.There are no inscriptions other than some simple geometric decorations(i.e.,no text).
Any help anyone might care to furnish will be gratefully appreciated.
Scott



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Allan Senefelder
Industry Professional



Location: Upstate NY
Joined: 18 Oct 2003

Posts: 1,563

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2010 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm guessing African, maybe Taureg.
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Dmitry Z~G





Joined: 22 Jun 2008

Posts: 77

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2010 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My impression is that it is from the Sub-Saharan Western Africa, Manding people - Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali.
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Karl Schlesien





Joined: 15 Sep 2010

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suspect it moght be a Fuzzy Wuzzy or Sudanese Kaskara sword.

Or as Allen has said likely Taureg.

If you look here you will see aspects of your sword shown in the many examples.

http://www.kick-fit.co.uk/shop/index.asp?cat=3

http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/takouba.html

http://www.vikingsword.com/ethsword/kaskara/index.html

A good discusion to read and a good forum as well.

http://swordforum.com/vb3/showthread.php?p=845063
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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
Likes: 32 pages
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 143

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2010 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no idea,but I just wanted to say that that's a beautifully crafted piece.Nice find Wink Would the proffessional temper and and craftsmanship make this sword more younger than older? Or were native bladesmiths in Africa perfectly capable of making such a weapon,say,200 or 300 years ago? WTF?!
Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Scott Moore




Location: Maine,USA
Joined: 22 Aug 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Thu 21 Oct, 2010 6:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks to all who replied! I'm inclined to agree with Sub-Saharan Africa as the most likely origin.The scabbard certainly shows some similarity to the Sudanese examples kindly provided by Karl.It's the hilt shape which has always perplexed me-I haven't seen a Tuareg or Sudanese hilt much like it. Dmitrys' suggestion of West Africa makes sense in view of the sculptural depiction of something similar from Benin,but the most commonly seen blade shape from that area seems to be a rather extreme leaf shape.Perplexing,... Isaac,thanks it is a pretty thing albeit somewhat the worse for wear.As to age I can personally affirm that it's at least 40 years old, and was in about the same condition you see when I got it ,which is to say not new. I'm inclined to guess a 19th century origin,though my reasons are purely circumstantial.
Scott

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Iain Norman





Joined: 14 Jul 2005

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Thu 21 Oct, 2010 12:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a takouba guy I'll wade in. The first thing to remember with swords from this area is that trade routes can account for some rather mixed pieces. Styles overlap and bits get recycled.

The blade is pretty clearly in the kaskara mold. Which means it could be from the Sudan areas or Hausaland. Eitherway that doesn't pin down the geography much as these blades were widely traveled in the Sahel.

The scabbard indicates Manding origin to me, especially the button. I have a takouba that's Manding with similar wicker work on the scabbard.

The turned wood grip is an element seen widely across many different tribes and doesn't help much to pin it down specifically. It's hard to tell from your picture if the ferrel and guard are wood as well? That would be important for an ID.

I have seen one piece in the past that was very similar and given a tentative attribution of Ethiopian by the owner. However it did not have a scabbard and I am inclined to think on the basis of your sword that the attribution was incorrect.

My best guess at this point is Manding, although as I mentioned, due to similar styles being widely used between different tribes/ethnic groups I wouldn't say it with 100% certainty.

If you want to see more takoubas and another Manding scabbard head over here: http://takouba.org
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Scott Moore




Location: Maine,USA
Joined: 22 Aug 2006

Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri 22 Oct, 2010 5:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Iain,Thanks for the informative post and the link to your takouba site.I'll gladly register the sword there,if you feel it's a useful addition to your database.It certainly makes sense that a sword from this region could incorporate elements of multiple traditions,especially considering the nomadic habits and history of trade in the region.
I'm attaching a closeup of the hilt and will attempt to describe clearly its' construction; The disc shaped bits to either side of the grip are wood. I suspect both were once edged in brass ,but only the forward guard retains this. The pommel and the portion directly adjacent to the blade (the "bolster"if you will) ,are capped,slightly flattened cylinders of iron.
I hope this clarifies more than it muddles.Scott



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Iain Norman





Joined: 14 Jul 2005

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri 22 Oct, 2010 7:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Scott,

Glad I could be of help, even if I didn't really do much more than muddle the situation.

Actually I saw another one of these on sale yesterday... If you want I can PM you the link for comparison. Exact same grip style, so now that I've seen three I'm inclined to think that it's obviously a formalized type. Just from what tribe I have no clue. Can I suggest you cross post this to the http://vikingsword.com/vb forums? There's some other folks with good experience in African arms and better reference libraries than myself. Also with your permission I'll circulate it privately to a few friends for ideas.

Thanks for the comment on the site, my little labor of love. Once we figure out what this is... depending on the tribe and area I'd love to have it on the site. Just for now I'm not sure what to call it!

My Manding guess doesn't really fit well as their grips tend to be simple leather, no bolsters. No exposed wood. So right now I'm not sure, only it looks a bit more West African than pure Sahel.

Cheers,

Iain
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Shahril Dzulkifli




Location: Malaysia
Joined: 13 Dec 2007
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 1,265

PostPosted: Tue 26 Oct, 2010 4:00 am    Post subject: Sword I.D.?         Reply with quote

I think that sword is no Tuareg. It's from Ethiopia, judging from its handle.
“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

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Iain Norman





Joined: 14 Jul 2005

Posts: 75

PostPosted: Fri 29 Oct, 2010 5:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The leatherwork more less rules out Ethiopia in my opinion. My at this point firmly convinced of Manding/Mandingo. Scott, you have a PM, can't share it here as it includes links to active sales.
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