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Old 6th August 2020, 06:15 PM   #1
Hal Siegel
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Default African whatsit spear for identification

Howdy, folks.

I'm a way old-time member (like, back when internet rocks were still soft), back home these days to add informational value when I can, and to get help identifying weird whatsits from my own collection.

First question up: this 6' spear, one of the weirdest spears I've ever seen. Most probably African.

Any further identifications are most welcome!
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Old 7th August 2020, 04:26 AM   #2
Cthulhu
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Clearly meant to be some sort of mancatcher, though the central blade makes the person caught somewhat dead as well.
The leather below the lumpy gray materal looks African to me as well.
But the lumpy gray material, what is it? It looks cleaner than the rest. Could this be some sort of fantastical composite? I've certainly never seen anything quite like it.
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Old 7th August 2020, 02:06 PM   #3
Tim Simmons
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I have something very similar. The spear is not sharp but is real enough. The cast heads makes me think of the Cameroon. I am pretty sure these are souvenirs for travellers, rather than real weapons. Funny thing is even real weapon are brought back by travellers.
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Old 7th August 2020, 05:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
The leather below the lumpy gray materal looks African to me as well.
But the lumpy gray material, what is it? It looks cleaner than the rest. Could this be some sort of fantastical composite? I've certainly never seen anything quite like it.


It appears to be cast non-magnetic pot-metal, like possibly scrap aluminum (is that even possible?) or a solder-like material.
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Old 7th August 2020, 05:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
I have something very similar. The spear is not sharp but is real enough. The cast heads makes me think of the Cameroon. I am pretty sure these are souvenirs for travelers, rather than real weapons.


Someone elsewhere suggested Cameroon, but I haven't been able to verify that with any examples -for instance, there's nothing even remotely like it on africanarms.com

Your spear-thing is about the closest I've seen to my spear-thing. They certainly are ceremonial / tourist grade, not at all functional.
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Old 8th August 2020, 04:23 AM   #6
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If you search for "wonderful multi-bladed African spear" you get a crazy looking thing that is...well, not that similar...previously offered on Ashoka Arts. But it's a spear with multiple points. I'd post photos but they're obviously not mine to post. Anyway that one is ascribed to the Tiv people of Niger. Still, not all that similar.

I'm definitely on board with the idea that the spear in question is a tourist piece. It just doesn't look all that practical nor sturdy. Still, most tourist pieces I've seen bear at least some resemblance to something actual, all the better to sell to passing tourists.
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Old 10th August 2020, 03:21 AM   #7
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got it -

It's a Bamoun festival spear (local use, not tourist export) from Cameroon.

You can see a nearly identical example in this picture from the Nguon Festival. (big guy in white on the right)

mine was collected in '97.
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Last edited by Hal Siegel : 10th August 2020 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 10th August 2020, 07:49 AM   #8
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Cool

Cool
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Old 10th August 2020, 12:55 PM   #9
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Hal,

I think the big guy in white is the Sultan of Bamoum. There are some videos on YouTube of the Sultan performing various functions at the festival.

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Old 10th August 2020, 04:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian
Hal,

I think the big guy in white is the Sultan of Bamoum. There are some videos on YouTube of the Sultan performing various functions at the festival.

Ian



Oooh, Sultan's spear!

Way cool.
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