Ngombe throwing knife
This item has been sold.
Dimensions

65 x 43 cm

Weight

grams

Materials

Iron, reptile skin

Origin

Ngombe tribal, Congo

Dating

Early 20th century

Provenance

From a German collection

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Introduction

The tribes of West Central Africa used some peculiar types of throwing knives, locally called 

Among the more complex and artful among these are those of the various peoples inhabiting the banks of the Ubangi river. This particular one is probably attributable to the Ngombe ("water people"), who occupy the triangular patch of land between the Congo and Ubangi Rivers.

Such knives were thrown horizontally or vertically and were used for hunting and warfare, but they could also be used as melee weapons. Especially well-made examples such as this one also served as status symbols.

This example is exceptionally large for one of these. Most reference examples do not exceed 40 cm, while this one measures 65 cm high. It is well-forged with precise edge bevels and decorated with incised lines. The grip is wrapped with lizard skin.

 

Comparable examples

I have not found any comparables that were quite this large.

Here a number of close, but not quite, throwing knives from the same general region, probably from the neighboring Ngbaka people.

Leiden Ethnographic Museum accession number RV-667-44. Acquired in 1888. 36.5 x 36 cm.

Leiden Ethnographic Museum accession number RV-2668-2478. Acquired 1947. Dated to the 19th century. 35.5 x 35.5 cm.

Wereldmuseum Rotterdam accession number WM-63402. Acquired 1975. Dated to the 19th century. 40.2 x 35.5 cm

Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford, accession number 1908.65.3. Acquired in, you guessed it, 1908.

Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife
Large Ngbaka throwing knife

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