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Old 17th July 2010, 12:09 AM   #1
laEspadaAncha
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Question African Spears - Help ID Please...

So yesterday I acquired a decent-sized collection of African antiques and artifacts, including about 20 various pieces of arms and armor. Among these were several nice older shields and a half-dozen spears. I have no problems attributing the shields (and most of the swords/knives for that matter) to their respective tribal origins, but am largely clueless with regards to the spears.

Among the spears are what I would think are both throwing spears and stabbing spears. I think (the largest) one or two might be Kuba, but I just don't know. Below are photos of each (along with the other lone African spear I already owned), along with their relevant (approximate) dimensions. Please pardon the poor picture quality.

In the first photo, of the group, the tape measure is extended out to six feet, or 183 cm. Measurements for each are provided with each photo... Due to the number of images, I'll have to split this across several posts.

Thanks Lew, Tim, et al, for any and all assistance you can provide...

Rgds,

Chris

Group:




Spear 1:


Spear head length: 26 1/2 in. / 67 cm
Width at widest: 4 3/4 in. / 12 cm
Ferrule/socket length: 2 3/4 in. / 7 cm
Ferrule/socket diameter at shaft: +/- 7/8 in. / 2 cm
Notes: Same basic grind and similar incisions to no. 2. Long (4 ft.) metal spike opposite spear head.

Spear 2:




Spear head length: 24 1/2 in. / 62 cm
Width at widest: 4 1/2 in. / 11.5 cm
Ferrule/socket length: 3 in. / 7.5 cm
Ferrule/socket diameter at shaft: approx. 7/8 in. / 2 cm
Notes: As noted, same grind pattern and incised design (shown above) as no. 1. Secured to its (original?) shaft. 9 inches of iron banding beneath the ferrule (appears there was at one time 11 inches).

Last edited by laEspadaAncha : 17th July 2010 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:10 AM   #2
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Default Spear #3

Spear 3:




Spear head length: 14 1/2 in. / 37 cm
Width at widest: 2 5/8 in. / 7 cm
Ferrule/socket length: 12 1/4 in. / 31 cm
Ferrule/socket diameter at shaft: 5/8 in. / 1.5 cm
Notes: Spear and ferrule forged out of single piece of iron; tightly secured to its (original?) shaft, with even patina covering nail/tac and sleeve. Shaft appears fluted? Copper banding above and below swell in shaft.
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Old 17th July 2010, 12:11 AM   #3
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Default ...and the rest

Spear 4:





Spear head length: 7 in. / 18 cm (to the end of the two barbs)
Width at widest: 1 1/8 in. / 3 cm
Ferrule/socket length: 7 in. / 18 cm (including barbs on ferrule)
Ferrule/socket diameter at shaft: 5/8 in. / 1.5 cm
Notes: Iron coil at base of shaft. Well-balanced - I'm guess a throwing (hunting) spear? Spears 5 & 6 are very similar to spear 4 (moreso 5 than 6), sharing general dimensions (both spear head and spear OAL), incised designs, and the same squared-off cubic element on the socket.


Spear 5:


Spear head length: 9 1/4 / 23.5 cm
Width at widest: 2 1/4 / 5.7 cm
Ferrule/socket length: 21 1/4 / 54 cm
Ferrule/socket diameter at shaft: 5/8 / 1.5 cm
Notes: This is the lone African spear I already owned. At least I presume it's African. Spike opposite spear head measures 35 inches.
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Old 17th July 2010, 04:29 PM   #4
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From top to bottom Olombo or Lokele the next two are Ngbandi I will get back to you on the others. Ok the barbed ones seem to be Tubu Daza.
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Old 17th July 2010, 10:00 PM   #5
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Thanks Lew...

What about that leaf spear at the bottom (of the first pic) with the pronounced medial ridge?
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Old 17th July 2010, 10:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha
Thanks Lew...

What about that leaf spear at the bottom (of the first pic) with the pronounced medial ridge?


Probably Masai. Hard to tell can't see the bottom of it.
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Old 18th July 2010, 12:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laEspadaAncha

What about that leaf spear at the bottom (of the first pic) with the pronounced medial ridge?



Hi Chris,
I agree with Lew, likely Masai....but possibly neighbouring Samburu.

Nice spears, congrats

Regards David
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Old 18th July 2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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Hi David,

Thanks - on both counts... I had wondered if the one spear I already had was Masai, but prior to your and Lew's input, my own suggested attribution was nothing more than pure guesswork on my part.

Rgds,

Chris
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Old 13th November 2010, 07:49 AM   #9
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Hi,
For the spears from the top to bottom, 1-Lokele, 2-could be Boa, 3-Mongo, 4-5-6 North Sudan, 7-Turkana or neighbors.

Grt

Jos
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Old 13th November 2010, 04:44 PM   #10
Jim McDougall
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Hi Chris,
Outstanding grouping!!! Can you and the others here recommend sources for references on African spears?
It seems that this area of arms is quite esoteric in many cases as the variations in features are often so subtle.
I'd really appreciate any input as I'd like to reinforce my resources on these and it would be most helpful to others out there interested in this field.

Thanks very much,
Jim
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Old 13th November 2010, 09:06 PM   #11
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Jos - Thank you for the input and attributions... I have to crosscheck this now with the earlier suggested attributions -> more research = more knowledge, for which I am always grateful.


And thank you, Jim... I had sold the few African spears I had several years ago, and almost immediately regretted it... I was fortunate to find these - all but one came to me out of the same collection. Five of the seven are now mounted so I don't make the same mistake twice...

As far as reference material, there is a nice bibliography here on the site -> click here. I've wanted to pick up Waffen aus Zentral-Afrika for some time, but there are higher acquisition priorities for my nascent library.
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Old 14th November 2010, 04:44 AM   #12
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Hi Chris,
Thanks very much for the link, indeed extremely helpful. It seems there is no single comprehensive reference on spears in the same manner as found on many other weapons as well as even shields, which have singular focus in several references. I really have to hand it to the guys who really know this stuff, as they've had to really piece it together with a lot of hands on experience!
It seems the scope of your collecting interest has few bounds, looking forward to more of your great discoveries!!!

All the best,
Jim
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