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Old 6th January 2014, 11:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 78
Default Lunda (?) Himba (?) knife

I found this knife but I am not able to establish which tribe is it and I hope somebody in the forum can help me.
The blade is flat and hand made and hammered. The margins have suffered for some use and have some small dents. The decoration is not very accurate and is made of two lines that slightly converge towards the point and the space is filled with a net of oblique lines. It has been cleaned. The base of the handle is similar to some Lunda knives with the lower part flat and the upper part convex upward. It is completely covered with upholster nails The handle is cilindrical and covered with copper wire except a small part in the lower side that has lost the original wire. In the middle is a platelet of copper. The base of the handle is a large segment of cilinder with the part looking towards the blade slightly conical. The lower and upper parte are covered with upholster nails. An elongated truncated cilinder works as a pommel. It is covered with thicker copper wire. The scabbard has convex convergent sides and is made of wood covered with leather. It ends with an elliptical part completely covered with nail in the front side and partially covered in the back where there is the sewing that keep together the leather of the scabbard. The mouth is covered with a more recent belt of false leather that in Italy was in vouge in the '70thies. It is evidently a later addiction to compensate the loss of some parts probably made of copper. In fact, slightly below there is a large platelet of copper grossly decorated with dots that make a X.
It is difficult for me establish an age but I would put is in the first half of the XIX century without excluding that is slightly older. The nails and the copper are quite patinated. Personally I have always seen the scabbard of the Lunda with a round end. The only knives I know with an elliptic end is an Himba knife. The Lunda knives that I know usually has also a different handle. In any case that is the area that most probably hosted the makers of the knife that is between Angola and RD Congo. A notheworty knife anyway and almost surely reserved to a chief. Any suggestion is welcome.
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Old 10th January 2014, 01:06 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Sint-Amandsberg (near Ghent, Belgium)
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No comments so far ?

I have handled this piece before I shipped it to Mauro and I must say it's old. But, as Mauro, I'm not sure of its origin.

Perhaps anyone else knows more ?
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Old 11th January 2014, 08:58 AM   #3
colin henshaw
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,244

I often find it difficult to attribute correctly knives from the Central Africa region, but the profile of the blade seems to indicate the south-western area.

My only comment is - as the use of brass and copper would mean it was a prestige item, I wonder why the incised decoration to the blade is so crudely done ? But an interesting piece, nonetheless. I like the form of the sheath.

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