KnifeArtist(s)KubaArtist NationalityKuba (Democratic Republic of Congo style)Object Creation Datecirca 1900Medium & Supportiron, wood, and copperDimensions
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 LineGift of Asher and Vera MargolisLabel copySubject 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.
Daniel Biebuyck, The Arts of Zaire, 1985
Georges Meurant, African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba, 1986
Jan Vansina, The Children of Woot, 1978Physical 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 TypeknifeCollection AreaAfricanRights
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carvings (visual works)
metalwork (visual works)