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Old 23rd April 2013, 12:12 PM   #1
colin henshaw
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Default African finger ring weapon !

Hi

This may be of interest to forumites who like African material - was a bit of a mystery to me until I came across this illustration in Ratzel "The History of Mankind" 1896. Would be used a bit like a knuckle duster I suppose....

Length is 9.5cm.
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Old 23rd April 2013, 06:01 PM   #2
Tim Simmons
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That is very nice. I think it also works most handsomely as jewelry. Interesting the similar decorative vision by the artist as this piece currently on show at the British Museums, Ice Age Art- arrival of the modern mind exhibition. Very cool.
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Old 25th April 2013, 08:18 AM   #3
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Great item Colin! I really enjoy seeing oddities like this. These were probably a very common item of the time - but little collected I think.
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Old 26th April 2013, 09:29 AM   #4
colin henshaw
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Thanks to Tim & Iain for their input on this item. Fascinating to see the same designs appearing independently, both historically and geographically...
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Old 26th April 2013, 03:39 PM   #5
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I agree, the designs are very interesting. I teach a class in human evolution, and these images can be seen quite often in paleolithic art. One of the current theories to explain the ubiquity of these designs is that they are an intermediate step between abstraction and figurative images seen during shamanic trances. The process has been described by contemporary Siberian shamans and can be found in several traditions. During a trance, random dots first appear which then begin to coalesce, usually in circles and spirals. The dots eventually organize themselves into recognizable forms, usually animal shapes. These forms are seen worldwide and through all time periods where shamanic art is produced. It appears to have something to do with how the brain organizes images while in a trance state.
Here are some examples from Chuvet cave in France circa 32,000BP.
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Josh
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Old 28th April 2013, 09:04 AM   #6
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Neat stuff Josh!

Colin, I seem to recall the Turkana used something similar - a small finger knife. A little Googling turned up a nice article on the topic.

http://atkinson-swords.com/collecti...ives-kenya.html

Apparently banned during colonial British rule.
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Old 30th April 2013, 09:00 AM   #7
colin henshaw
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Thanks to Josh Stout & Iain for their further comments on this object and its genre.

The source and use of decoration and design is a most interesting subject - I have been reading about the "interlocking key motif" - to be found in Amazonia, Aboriginal Australia and Ancient Rome !

Please post further examples for discussion...
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