KnifeArtist(s)Object Creation Date20th centuryMedium & Supportmetal, copper, and woodDimensions
29 1/8 in x 8 1/4 in x 2 15/16 in (73.98 cm x 20.96 cm x 7.46 cm)Credit LineGift of Susan B. and John F. UllrichLabel copySubject matter
The straight blade surmounted by a large sickle-shaped curve suggests this knife's form may be derived from the ngulu
, a similarly shaped blade used in the past for executions. Many peoples from Central Africa have created knives of this shape, as other objects have been labeled as created by Ngala, Ntomba, Nkundu, Ngombe, and Ekonda peoples. Scholars have noted that while in the past this knife was used to decapitate victims for ceremonial sacrifices, since the 20th century animals have been used in these events instead. As with other elaborate knifes, this type of knife may also be used as a symbol of rank or status.
Berardi, Marianne. 2004. Standing on ceremony: traditional African arms from the Donna L. and Robert H. Jackson Collection.
Cleveland: The Western Reserve Historical Society.
Hurst, Norman. 1997. Ngola: The Weapon as Authority, Identity, and Ritual Object in Sub-Saharan Africa
. Cambridge, MA: Hurst Gallery. Physical Description
A knife with a wooden, wire-wrapped handle with a conical pommel. The blade near the handle is straight with two small points along one side and sickle-shaped at the top. Primary Object Classification Arms and Armor Primary Object TypeknifeCollection AreaAfricanRights
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symbols of office or status