African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Luba sword

Luba sword (N° 22408)

This type of ceremonial weapon also served as currency among many Central African groups. The sculpted motif here is janiform, extended by a handle bearing the imprint of nails, then by a blade with a bulging center. Grainy oxidized patina, abraded oiled patina on the handle.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cowries, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, especially iron. These primitive currencies were used during commercial and social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throwing weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued against iron bars called barriferri. The king generally controlled the production or routing of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, and these sometimes take on the appearance of particularly aesthetic non-figurative sculptures.  

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OriginEx-collection belge
EthnyLuba
Countryrdc ex zaire
Material(s)wood
Height cm55
Depth5 cm
Width10 cm
Weight0.69 Kg
Estimated datingcirca 1960
Socle includedYes

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