Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   A bronze spear head ... African ? (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8221)

fernando 20th January 2009 11:55 PM

A bronze spear head ... African ?
 
4 Attachment(s)
Bronze or brass ... i wonder.
Total length 31 cms (12 1/4").
Blade edges about sharp.
Interesting that the decoration (chiseling) on the socket was done after it was bent, as the design lines coincide ... if i make myself clear.
Will someone tell me where this piece would be from?
Also its possible age?
Thanks
Fernando

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Atlantia 21st January 2009 01:02 AM

Very nice!


Bronze is the material used for weapons, but 'bronze' covers a family of copper alloys with literally endless variations in recipe. Essentially its a mixture of Copper and tin, but there are plently of impurities and small amounts of other metals that find there way into the mix depending on where it was made.
Brass is usually mixed for a more 'brassy' gold decorative colour.
Unless the flash is bleaching the true colour out of your spearhead then it looks paler, with a browning patina. Like you'd expect from a bronze weapon.
Whats it like inside the shaft socket? There isn't much patina on the outisde.

Not sure where in Africa its from sorry.

Gene

katana 21st January 2009 05:01 PM

Hi Fernando,
almost certainly African but likely to be more ceremonial than functional. There are a number of tribes that regard iron/steel as a negative (spiritually / religiously). Hopefully Tim will 'jump in' ...he is quite knowledgeable on this subject.

Regards David

Lew 21st January 2009 05:48 PM

Seems West African to me.

fernando 21st January 2009 07:00 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Thank you Gene.
I am not particulary worried about the rigour of its metal composition ... was more a means to call it by the right name.
Concerning patina, i would say that it had some cleaning during its life, as may be seen in the chiseling depths.
Fernando

fernando 21st January 2009 07:02 PM

Thank you David,
My first thought was that it is ceremonial; that's why i was surprised with its blade edge significant sharpeness.
Yes, it would be good if Tim jumped in.
Fernando

fernando 21st January 2009 07:03 PM

Thank you Lew,
Could it be a currency piece ?
Fernando

Tim Simmons 21st January 2009 07:36 PM

You chaps are making my head swell too much. It is true that I have been looking with a vigor into non-ferrous metals in sub-saharan Africa. I also make my living being involved with bronze casting. It looks like bronze to me which in the most basic form is copper and tin as already mentioned. I think Lew is spot on with the western sahara/sahel. The cresent marks are common on many of the blades finished with stamped leather handles and scabbards from Mali and so on.

It is true that bronze, brass, and copper are or have been very special metals. This example only dislays the skill of the smith in forming the blade which would be stock in trade. This could make me think it is latter in production. The maker may not have had access to more skilled engravers? I am reluctant to say anything about age excpet the normal 19/early 20th century. Cearly it has not been made for a high chieftian of royal household but poor people do have culture just the same. Shame there is no haft which might help with showing age. I think it is easy to buy spear head on holiday in Africa?

Atlantia 21st January 2009 07:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Thank you Gene.
I am not particulary worried about the rigour of its metal composition ... was more a means to call it by the right name.
Concerning patina, i would say that it had some cleaning during its life, as may be seen in the chiseling depths.
Fernando



Those are better, it looks really nice!!
Patina inside the socket looks good!

I love bronze weapons.
And whilst not as strong as steel, its still a good strong material.
I agree its probobly ceremonial. But I wondered if it was made of the softer metal to deliberately easily deform on impact?
Some cultures use soft headed spears, as when thrown, a 'one use' head is an advantage. If it hits a man or the ground and the head deforms it is useless for your foes to throw it back!
Just a thought, probobly barking up the wrong tree!
Very nice thing though, I always wanted the Luristani Bronze weapons.

Norman McCormick 21st January 2009 09:15 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Hi,
Here's another one, 13 1/2 inches long.
Regards,
Norman.

fernando 21st January 2009 10:03 PM

Bless you for the input, Tim :) :cool: .
Maybe it never had a haft ? no nail holes in the socket :o
May i still ask: fighting/hunting, ceremonial or currency ? What would you say?
Fernando

fernando 21st January 2009 10:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
Hi,
Here's another one, 13 1/2 inches long.
Regards,
Norman.


A very nice one, Norman,
Beautiful colour ... more copper like.
What do you know about it ?
Fernando

Norman McCormick 21st January 2009 10:42 PM

Hi Fernando,
I'm afraid I know no more than Tim was able to tell me i.e. sub-Saharan and ceremonial. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
My Regards,
Norman.

Lew 22nd January 2009 05:18 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Thank you Lew,
Could it be a currency piece ?
Fernando



Fernando

More a ceremonial piece I think? Here is one that is from my collection but it is one piece notice the diamond shaped facets cut into the shaft. Yours would probably look the same but with a wooden shaft and a similar end piece.

Lew

katana 22nd January 2009 08:49 PM

Hi Lew,
Very nice spear :) .... the sheath ( the bulbous disc shaped end) on your spear looks to be from the Dan tribe....do you know if it is ?

Regards David

Lew 22nd January 2009 08:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by katana
Hi Lew,
Very nice spear :) .... the sheath ( the bulbous disc shaped end) on your spear looks to be from the Dan tribe....do you know if it is ?

Regards David


Yes Katana

It is Dan tribe. Actually Charles sold a similar one a few months back but I believe his had a wooden shaft wish I kept a picture of it. :(


Lew

katana 22nd January 2009 09:20 PM

Hi Lew,
thanks for the reply, its just that there is a design on the metal shaft (on yours) the triangles within bands, which is similar to one of my spears...still unidentified, 2nd picture down on this thread
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5772

Regards David

fernando 22nd January 2009 09:51 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
Fernando

More a ceremonial piece I think?

So ceremonial it will be, till sudden distinct evidence; maybe i even find out the tribes it belongs to, one of these days.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUIEBLADES
... Here is one that is from my collection but it is one piece notice the diamond shaped facets cut into the shaft. Yours would probably look the same but with a wooden shaft and a similar end piece.
Lew

Very nice piece, that of yours. However i admit i miss the experience to see the similarity between this example and mine :o
I still feed this fantasy that mine never had a shaft; each fool has his own mania :shrug:

Fernando

Lew 23rd January 2009 12:44 AM

Fernando

I was referring to the the facets on your spear. Your spear could be Hausa but I can't be sure.


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