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Old 15th July 2012, 02:02 AM   #1
christek
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Question Help with ID of spear, African?

Hello all,

Here I have what must be a throwing spear, most probably from the African continent. It is about 137 cm long, very light and has a heart shaped spear head, with a needle point and a barbed socket. The shaft appears to be made from a light reed wood of some type. It is my understanding that the socket spear head definitely rules out Zulu and perhaps other South East African tribes. The piece looks to have some age to it. There are markings on the socket, but I cannot find any reference to their meanings, possibly tribal markings. At this point in my research I have not yet seen one that is similar. Can anyone enlighten me as to a possible identification of this spear? Thank you.

Kind regards,
Chris
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Old 15th July 2012, 02:25 PM   #2
colin henshaw
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Hi Chris

I'll have a go, "Sherlock Holmes" style....

(a) Socketed head = north of the Zambezi.
(b) Simple geometric decoration to the metal = usually Islamic influence.
(c) Head with hole and pinned to shaft = Congo or West Africa, not Sudan or
eastwards.
(d) Heart shaped blade = West Africa sahel area.
(e) Barbs to metal shank = West Africa, Sudan, Somalia etc..

My best conclusion is therefore - Manding, Taureg, Hausa, Fulani or nearby.

Regards.
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Old 17th July 2012, 12:17 PM   #3
christek
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Hi Colin,

Thank you for your reply on what is certainly proving a difficult task I too was of the impression the simple geometric decorations were possibly of Islamic origin. In any case I appreciate your considerable knowledge on these weapons and will certainly make reference to these suggestions during my research. Are you aware of any particular timeframe in history that this spear design or type was popular? Thank you.

Kind regards,

Chris
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Old 17th July 2012, 04:28 PM   #4
colin henshaw
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Hi Chris

Thank you for your kind remarks.

Regarding the date of the spear - this is very difficult to judge unless you have a particular provenance. However probably no later than say, 1950... could be much earlier, even 19th century. Tribal societies tended to be very static and conservative without an outside stimulus.

If you like African spears, the book by Christopher Spring "African Arms & Armour" has a good essay on them, as I recall.

Regards
Colin


Quote:
Originally Posted by christek
Hi Colin,

Thank you for your reply on what is certainly proving a difficult task I too was of the impression the simple geometric decorations were possibly of Islamic origin. In any case I appreciate your considerable knowledge on these weapons and will certainly make reference to these suggestions during my research. Are you aware of any particular timeframe in history that this spear design or type was popular? Thank you.

Kind regards,

Chris
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