Swords with decorated leather sheaths


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

This type of sword remains one of the most prestigious weapons among the Manding people, being owned by men of high social status. It has a curved single-edged blade set in a hilt without a handguard. These blades are often of French manufacture, originally designed as cavalry sabres. They are further enhanced by the highly decorated scabbard, often embellished with tassels and large, round buttons of leather. This tradition of finely tooled leatherwork is common to the western savannah, Mauritania and Morocco.This weapon is one of three distinctive types of long-bladed sword broadly characteristic of the Islamicized people of the western , central and eastern savannah regions of Africa. The other two are the takouba of the central savannah and the kaskara of the eastern savannah.


  • Title: Swords with decorated leather sheaths
  • Date Created: 1925/1975
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 93.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: Af1979,01.4677.a
  • Place: Found/Acquired Western Sudan
  • Peoples: Made by Mande
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: steel; leather; brass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: From George V

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