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Old 9th September 2019, 09:05 AM   #1
Kmaddock
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Default Spear with iron binding to retain head

Hi All

Finally got this spear, I put as new tread as I wanted to change title to reflect the spear.

Attached overall length 1.2 M spear with digging end and spear head.

What is unusual to me is that the tangs of both the spear head and the digging tool are bound in iron, v nicely done and forged to my eye but i am happy to be corrected.

Spear head is quiet sharp and again forged,
I am not sure how to describe the head but the 2 cutting sides are not in line but a central ridge has been forged to give a kink running longitudinally down the blade, to add strength i assume.

So has anyone got any ideas as to origin,

As it has a digging end would this indicate more hunting/foraging than fighting.

It has a lovely weight and balance to it and would throw and trust well I feel.

regards,

Ken
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Old 9th September 2019, 09:40 AM   #2
Martin Lubojacky
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Hi, I think it could be Shona o Ndebele spear. I saw very similar, the same length, in Zimbabwe.
Martin
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Old 9th September 2019, 09:49 AM   #3
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Forge welding the two sides with an overlap i an African trick to provide a stiffening central ridge easily. Not Zulu, or tributary tribes, they preferred leather or fancy wire bindings. No Zulu 'notch' at the blade/tang join. The long exposed tang is normally used on throwing spears. The weighted butt spike balances it for throwing. Bit short for a lance, too long for an Iklwa. Southern africa somewhere?
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Old 9th September 2019, 03:36 PM   #4
Kmaddock
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Thank you both for the info .
As the binding is in iron I taught this might indicate origin
has anyone any other examples of spears with iron binding?
Thanks
Ken
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Old 10th September 2019, 02:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Thank you both for the info .
As the binding is in iron I taught this might indicate origin
has anyone any other examples of spears with iron binding?
Thanks
Ken



I have several tanged spears with iron strip spiral binding and have always thought of them as Shona or thereabouts , so south central Africa. .
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Old 27th October 2019, 04:08 PM   #6
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I photographed this during a recent visit to an old friend. I take it to be Zulu, with the same sort of iron binding:
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Old 27th October 2019, 04:25 PM   #7
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The spear head and haft, as well as the wire-work are Zulu, the butt spike & spiral counter weight are quite unusual for a Zulu item. Possibly a high ranking prestige item. Note the signature 'pinch' notches near the tang of the main blade. As I mentioned, an Ik'lwa like this doesn't have a long exposed tang.

Also, the wire wrap near the butt is not of the same high calibre as the rest, may have been added later by who-knows-who along with the weight and small spear-ish spike. Appears there are some stress cracks from the insertion of the spike tang there. Normally the wood would taper up wider at the butt so as to keep your hand from sliding up, as in my examples below (which have been cleaned and oiled). The two 'munitions' grade ones have a wrap of braided rawhide leather thong, they were likely for the more junior warriors. Zulu in the main got their weapons in tribute from conquered tribes.

...and spear/lance butt spikes are not there for digging, tho someone may have used it occasionally for that. They are a counterbalance, a secondary weapon and something to let you stick the spear into the ground with rather than dulling your weapon.
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Last edited by kronckew : 27th October 2019 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 27th October 2019, 06:01 PM   #8
Battara
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
Forge welding the two sides with an overlap i an African trick to provide a stiffening central ridge easily. Not Zulu, or tributary tribes, they preferred leather or fancy wire bindings. No Zulu 'notch' at the blade/tang join. The long exposed tang is normally used on throwing spears. The weighted butt spike balances it for throwing. Bit short for a lance, too long for an Iklwa. Southern africa somewhere?

In South Africa I was told these are called "assegai".
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Old 27th October 2019, 06:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
In South Africa I was told these are called "assegai".


That's what the english call them, in Zulu they are 'Ik'lwa'. Assegai got used for spears in general, throwing or stabbing, in So. Africa.
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Old 27th October 2019, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew

Also, the wire wrap near the butt is not of the same high calibre as the rest, may have been added later by who-knows-who along with the weight and small spear-ish spike. Appears there are some stress cracks from the insertion of the spike tang there. Normally the wood would taper up wider at the butt so as to keep your hand from sliding up, as in my examples below (which have been cleaned and oiled).



Yes, the wire at the base was clearly not of the same calibre as the rest. I hadn't thought about the spike being a later addition, but it makes sense.
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