African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Kuba knife

Ikul Kuba knife (N° 20041)

Several tribes make up the Kuba group,settled between the Sankuru and Kasai rivers:Bushoong,Ngeendé,Binji,Wongo,Kete,etc.Each produced a variety of sculptures,statues,prestige objects,masks,frequently decorated with geometric patterns.
The Kuba, whose name means "lightning" also produced African tools and weapons, including throwing knives, which later became trading values, and heavy war swords, Ilwoon .
A male attribute, the Ikula ("of peace") knife was not a weapon but a status symbol. Moreover, this symbol of authority was only slightly sharpened. Kuba blacksmiths may have been inspired by the knives of Benin, whose shape is similar, introduced by the Dutch. It is following a royal decree that wooden knives appeared, the king forbidding iron on the nights of the full moon. The blade is crossed by a flat rib, and fine parallel lines form a ribbon pattern, following the curves of the knife. The handle is made of wood, with sophisticated engraved patterns.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyKuba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood, metal
Height32
Width8
Weight0.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle includedYes

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