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Old 30th May 2020, 09:10 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default Zulu Club ?

I believe this to be a Zulu war club; this is my first club with beadwork. The beads are very small. Also, this one has 2 flat surfaces.
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Old 31st May 2020, 12:06 AM   #2
Battara
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Does look like a form of knobberrie, doesn't it? And the Zulu did use beads and these colors (but so did other South African groups).
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Old 31st May 2020, 01:47 AM   #3
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Cool Similar but likely older

Lew had a similar club in his collection.
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Old 31st May 2020, 01:51 AM   #4
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Thanks, that is a pretty close match.
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Old 31st May 2020, 10:30 AM   #5
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Iv got one of these Iwisa too (and a few more), the 'flats' are usually a bit sunken or dished, to keep them from cracking due to drying out, they'd store them with one of the flats up, and with a blob of fat that would infiltrate the wood. Next time they's turn it so the other flat was uppermost & blob that side. The lubs were made by vassal tribes, usually Shona as tribute, out of 'assegai' wood, a strong tough rosewood variant. The spherical centred ball ones usually do not have the flats. You rub the whole thing in fat or veggy oil.
Modern Zulu and Shona do wirework with assorted color plastic covered telephone wire. in the old times they had the technology to make iron and copper wire to decorate their weapons and other items.

Mine: (seller's photo I kept)
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Old 31st May 2020, 04:20 PM   #6
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Well, that explains the "flats;" a better explanation than the one that I had read that stated it was for extinguishing Zulu Cigars.
I also have several clubs with the wire work, but as I noted before, this is the first one with beadwork. Is this ceremonial, for tourists, or just one of where someone had a string of extra beads and thought it was a good idea to put them on a club? The beads are very small and there are literally thousands of them; it would have been no small feat to string them all.
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Old 31st May 2020, 05:00 PM   #7
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Since the telephone made the coloured wire available, it's use has exploded for decorative work on way more items than mere weapons. They, like most cultures like bright colours on stuff.

Tiny beads like those are another matter, if they are not plastic, consider how difficult and expensive they would be to make, especially drilling the central hole. Preindustrial wire manufacture, hand drawing, was also labour intensive and expensive.

Modern wirework incorporates beads as well, as they are mass produced in bulk and cheap. As is the wire.

Streetwires

Wirework

Wire History

Native Americans did it, and, like the Zulu, covered a lot of things in them. beaded shoes (moccasins), belts,weapons, etc. So the Shona/Zulu would have been as able. I suspect, like Native Americans, it was decorative and showed the wealth and status of the wearer who could afford the work being done on their stuff. On an impact weapon I suspect it's be more ceremonial as it'd be easy to damage the beading compared to the more normal iron/brass braided reinforceing bands.
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Old 31st May 2020, 08:28 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure that the beads are not plastic and the medium connecting them is the consistency of your average thread, not metal;I'm guessing there are at least 4500 beads.
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Old 31st May 2020, 11:56 PM   #9
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Very nice club! You could technically try the old 'hot needle' test on one of the beads to see if its plastic. This trick has been used for years to differentiate plastic from fake ivory/bone/scrimshaw, etc. Plastic will of course smell like heated plastic, while ceramic bead should not...
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Old 1st June 2020, 06:34 AM   #10
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Plant fibre (ie cotton) thread was used before metallic wire, so if ceramic beads, organic thread, it's old old . Plastic and polyester thread, not so old

Musta been fun counting the beads.
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Old 1st June 2020, 03:57 PM   #11
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The beads passed the "hot needle test," and they are not resin or plastic. The thread is plant fiber.
Counting beads during a pandemic is just another form of diversion, besides I cheated; thirty-plus beads per row, 150 plus rows of beads equals at least 4500 pcs. allowing for human counting error.
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