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Old 2nd March 2021, 03:15 PM   #33
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Originally Posted by ariel
Aren’t we overthinking it a bit?

Sub-Saharan African weapons by and large sacrificed their functionality in favor of “ whimsicality”. I can recall very few examples of truly functional serious weapons coming from that area. Zulu Iklwa, swords of Congolese Shi, Masai Seme and some fighting examples of Benin Hwi come to mind. Sure, one could inflict some damage with any fancily formed piece of metal, but when push came to shove, British machete was the preferred choice. Somehow because of that I have never gotten into African weapons.

Even Indians, with their inexhaustible pantheons of gods, their avatars and vahanas were serious about their weapons as weapons first and foremost.

As Tuco used to say, ” If you want to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk”

Point well noted, but actually not necessarily 'over' thinking, as we have been focused on the symbolism of the sword in the opening post of the thread, and possible similarities with other examples.

Naturally there were many distinct fighting forms throughout the African continent, including the almost fancifully styled 'throwing knives', whose actual use in battle of has always been subject for debate. The use of these among others in other manner, such as currency is fascinating. When factoring in the many colonial additions of swords and machetes to the arsenal, it becomes dramatically obvious that the sword was a well recognized weapon for battle throughout the tribal cultures of Africa.

Good analogy on the weapons of India, as the metaphysical properties inherently imbued in them are profoundly regarded, and the many forms actually used are powerfully effective in warfare. Still, highly embellished versions used ceremonially or ritually become notably impaired in combat encumbered by decorative elements.

Thus, in effect we are discussing a rather unique realm in the huge scope of edged weapons in Africa,in this case those intended as symbolic icons or votive elements in ceremony and ritual, rather than those intended for actual combat.

Well used and dramatic tag line from the movie "Desperado"

Last edited by Jim McDougall; 2nd March 2021 at 03:44 PM.
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