Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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gp 16th September 2020 12:50 AM

Old African scarification knives from Congo
11 Attachment(s)
Although I noticed African knives have been discussed occassionally here since appox 2007 , I could not find anything on Scarification (AKA tattoo) knives?
Whilst it was / is such an important part of their cultural heritage. Next pricewise, these knives are not cheap at all, compared to the "normal" ones...

Quite frequently present in pre 50-ies / 60-ies Africa, one does not see it anymore that often. Also North Africa, especially the Magreb.
I personally recall the first generation Amazigh women in the early 70-ies in the Netherlands and Belgium wearing proud their green coloured tattoos on their chin and forehead. But that's another story...

Back to the Congo. Enclosed a couple of pics of the scarification results and some of the knives, which are between 10 and 19 cm long.
A link on how this is done ( from Benin ) is not for the faint-hearted though...

gp 16th September 2020 12:51 AM

5 Attachment(s)
a few more. even in statues they were shown

Battara 16th September 2020 02:37 AM

Moving this to Miscellaneous section.

Interesting pieces.

gp 27th September 2020 07:32 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Enclosed my latest "gain " : a Mangbetu dagger (sape or sapi), although its origin could also be Boa
It was used by both men and women, with or without sheath / leather scabbard.
Length is 16 cm and it is multifunctional: shaving, circumcision and scarifications.

The lady on the picture was photographed by Herbert Lang in Poko, August 1913 whose field notes confirmed that in his time many of these daggers were created to demonstrate wealth and status as well.

Battara 28th September 2020 02:52 AM

I have seen scarification up close on Nigerian fellow students (a sign of not ever being a slave nor their family).

Interesting to see the tools used. Must be crazy painful though. :eek:

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