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Old 2nd July 2006, 10:13 PM   #1
ggoudie
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Default South african clubs

Hi guys ,pretty sure they come from southern africa but not which tribe .They are 19 inches long and made from a reddish hardwood the carving on the end seems to represent a nut or a fruit ? look forward to your comments , cheers graeme .
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Old 2nd July 2006, 10:34 PM   #2
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I have to say that is a real nice trio you have there. Probably Congo or South African.

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Old 3rd July 2006, 07:08 AM   #3
Tim Simmons
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Very nice.
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Old 3rd July 2006, 04:08 PM   #4
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They are nice clubs. Speaking as a botanist, I don't think that the heads are intended to represent a fruit or nut, at least one I can recognize. My guess is that the pieces may have been initially turned on a lathe, and that the indentations in the the tips of the heads might be where the spur from a lathe was used to hold the piece as it was turned. The longitudinal lines would have been added later.

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Old 3rd July 2006, 07:13 PM   #5
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I do not think they have been turned. I like the one in the middle the most.
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Old 3rd July 2006, 10:19 PM   #6
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I am not going for the lathe idea the carving must mean something to them .Even modern knobkerries are hand carved .
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Old 3rd July 2006, 11:58 PM   #7
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I'm not arguing that the carvings are meaningless. I am saying that the heads on these club heads do not appear to be carved into a botanical pattern. I'm puzzled by the dimple at the top of the head. There are three reasons that I can think of for such a dimple:

1) it's artistic (always possible, but it can be a fancy way of saying "I don't know, but it must have been put there for a reason").
2) the tree these came from has a central pith (like a walnut), and the central pit is an unavoidable remnant of that pith. I've got a number of walnut walking sticks, harvested locally, and the central pith doesn't particularly look like the dimples on these clubs. It's not impossible, just unlikely IMHO.
3) it's a result of the manufacturing process, suggesting that the club was turned on a lathe (either spring-cranked or machine). I agree that this is explanation works better for the shaft than the head, but it's still my favorite.

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Old 4th July 2006, 03:25 PM   #8
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Higuys , just arrived same as others but a staff. another varation on the theme .Was sold as zulu but have my doubts , look forward to any imput cheers graeme .
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Old 4th July 2006, 05:38 PM   #9
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I was thinking of trying for that staff. I think it is quite probable that all these items come from people from around the lakes, central and east Africa rather than Zulu or southern Africa.

I am reading a very good book on the area which is well worth trying to acquire;

Armies of the Nineteenth Century; Africa.
East Africa.
Tribal and Imperial Armies in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar, 1800-1900.
Foundry Books, Chris Peers isbn 1-901543-09-9

Written by the same people that do those man at arms booklets. This is far more substantial but still remains very easy to read. It is mainly the summary of engagements and expedition logs with some background information and history and very nice black line illustrations. It is fascinating and quite transporting, back to the times of H.M.Stanley. Many of the villages of the various people in the area covered had not been visited by white men untill the 1890s. Enjoy
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Old 4th July 2006, 06:11 PM   #10
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Thanks tim , but you have still not told me how they do the wire work . It cant be easy ! thanks for your help graeme .
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Old 4th July 2006, 06:20 PM   #11
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The wire work can be amazing just like all tribal weaving, of many different materials. Woven grasses almost as fine as cloth made from rough silk. I find some of the simple hand rolled string {cordage} stunning and often the main aspect I like in a piece. I guess it is just hard work and genius on the finest work.
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Old 4th July 2006, 07:25 PM   #12
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Very nice clubs ggoudie,
I think the carving on the heads do indeed look organic.

I can see what you mean Fearn, the dimples do look similar to the indentations cause when using a lathe. Perhaps the clubs are held, at either end, between two spindles, so that the club can be spun laterally, (like a lathe) which would aid the hand shaping/finishing, rounding of the club head etc. ?
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Old 4th July 2006, 10:55 PM   #13
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Trust me forget the lathe idea they are carved .Why they all have that dimple and same carving i would like to know .
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Old 7th July 2006, 07:43 PM   #14
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This is quite interesting, if the link works?

http://tribalartbrokers.net/details.asp?itemId=BAR

Last edited by Mark Bowditch; 7th July 2006 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 7th July 2006, 11:45 PM   #15
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Good shout tim , same timber same club .
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Old 8th July 2006, 03:31 AM   #16
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Hello ggoudie,

same timber same club, that's right, but the seller is wrong with Tanzania.
His club and yours, except this one in the middle, comes from the Ambo (Ovambo) from southern Angola. This one in the middle is also from Angola, but from the Chokwe.

Hope it helps,
Wolf
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Old 8th July 2006, 08:18 AM   #17
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The use of this form may well cover a large area including Tanzania and beyond, perhaps parts of Zambia.
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