KnifeArtist(s)KubaArtist NationalityKuba (Democratic Republic of Congo style)Object Creation Date20th centuryMedium & Supportmetal and woodDimensions
13 7/8 in x 3 1/2 in x 2 in (35.2 cm x 8.9 cm x 5 cm)Credit LineGift of Susan B. and John F. UllrichSubject 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.
Daniel Biebuyck, The Arts of Zaire, 1985
Georges Meurant, African Textiles from the Kingdom of Kuba, 1986
Roy Sieber, African Textiles and Decorative Arts, 1972
Jan Vansina, The Children of Woot, 1978Physical Description
Knife with a leaf-shaped blade. The center of the blade has an engraved line running down the length of the blade. The handle has a bulb-like base flattened at the end. Primary Object Classification Metalwork Primary Object TypeknifeCollection AreaAfricanRights
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carvings (visual works)
metalwork (visual works)