Category: tuareg

Four Takouba, Probably 20th Century

Lengths from left to right: 92 cm, 96.5 cm, 98 cm, 98.5 cm

Various Tuareg Arm Daggers & Short Swords

Three Takouba, Sahel, Africa


Old warrior sword in metal, leather and yellow copper. Blade of local manufacture. L 93cm. Touareg. Sahara

Old style hilt with a locally made blade, probably 20th century.

Tuareg Shield, Possibly 19th Century

leather – cotton – Height: 116 cm – Width: 73 cm

Takouba, 20th century

Straight, double-edged blade of lenticular section, with three fullers at the forte and two, crescent-marks. Leather-covered quillon and grip. Circular, iron pommel with big, square cusp, partially plated with brass. Leather scabbard, decorated with geometrical imprints and brass mounts, small damage at the tip. Two, leather, suspension bands. length 92 cm.

I’m still learning about takouba, but this one is 20th century to my eye. Maybe mid-20th century. Takouba are still made today, both for tourists and as a part of traditional dress. They are often attributed to the Tuareg, but the takouba was/is used by a variety of peoples.


Tuareg Takouba, 20th Century


Takouba, 19th century

The takouba is a style of sword traditionally associated with the Tuareg, the nomadic people of the central and west-central areas of the Sahara desert (including portions of what is now Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, and Morocco). The sword typically has a broad, straight, double-edged blade averaging 74 to 84 cm. (29 to 33 inches) in length and a simple cross-guard, and resembles the medieval European sword. The blades are generally imported, many bearing the marks of Toledo (Spain) or Solingen (Germany).

The BRLSI example has a wide, double edged blade, 83cm in length and formed with three fullers. The blade is stamped with 2 “moon-face” marks on each side. The brass sheet crossbar is decorated with an engraved pattern and fixed with iron rivets. The mushroom-shaped pommel is engraved in a similar pattern while the grip is partly covered with leather. The leather scabbard is partly encased with brass sheet which form both a chape and a locket. The brass sheet is engraved with a decorative pattern and is also pierced, the leather beneath stained in red or green to form an attractive design.

Catalogue no: EW024

A Tuareg man poses with the sword handed to the Tuareg leader by the French after the Tuareg were finally defeated at the battle of Tit, photographed in the desert outside the Tuareg town of Djanet, on April 9, 2009. (Photo by Brent Stirton/National Geographic.)


19th century Tuareg takouba