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Between and Mortarboard


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Knife

Accession Number
1986/1.207

Title
Knife

Artist(s)
Kuba

Artist Nationality
Kuba (Democratic Republic of Congo style)

Object Creation Date
circa 1900

Medium & Support
iron, wood, and copper

Dimensions
2 3/16 in x 14 15/16 in x 3 3/8 in (5.56 cm x 37.94 cm x 8.57 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Asher and Vera Margolis

Label copy

Subject matter
With its characteristic leaf-like shape and dulled blade, the ceremonial knife, or Ikul, was introduced as a peaceful replacement to the warrior throwing knife. It is typically carried by men as a symbol of prestige, warriorhood and authority. As a ceremonial object, It would also have been part of a noble man's daily costume, worn on the right side under the belt. At times, representations of an ikul could also be found on an Ndop: a carved figurative sculpture created to commemorate a Kuba king. 

The geometric patterns on the handle of this knife are similar to patterns found on Kuba textile, basketry, sculpture, and female body scarifications. 

References:
Daniel Biebuyck, The Arts of Zaire, 1985
Georges Meurant, African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba, 1986
Jan Vansina, The Children of Woot, 1978

Physical Description
A knife with a leaf shaped blade. Running vertically down the center of the blade is a gridded square pattern. The handle is also engraved with lines that wrap around the entire handle. 

Primary Object Classification
Metalwork

Primary Object Type
knife

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
carvings (visual works)
metalwork (visual works)
prestige

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display