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Old 15th February 2021, 04:35 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Some Zulu? spears and a knobkerrie.

Hi,
Some spears etc that I haven't posted before.

Spear 1

Total length 45 inches blade 16 inches. This is the only one I have that has a rattan type grip.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:41 PM   #2
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Spear no 2

Length 42 inches blade 15 inches. This one has a wide blade.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:43 PM   #3
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Spear no 3

Length 44 inches blade 14inches.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:45 PM   #4
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Spear no 4

Length 49 inches blade 12 inches. This one has a wire wrap at the head and cow tail at the end of the shaft.
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Last edited by Norman McCormick; 15th February 2021 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:48 PM   #5
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Spear no 5

Length 38 1/2 inches, spearhead 13 inches, blade 6 1/2 inches. I don't know whether this was cut down for transportation, souvenir, or was cut down to use as a stabbing spear or whether it was made this size. The haft was cut using a blade not a saw.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:50 PM   #6
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Spear no 6

Length 52 inches, spearhead 13 inches, blade 3 inches. This one obviously a throwing type.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:51 PM   #7
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Knobkerrie

Length 26 inches with dished ball.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:53 PM   #8
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Finally a photograph of what I would determine as the stabbing spears, Iklwa, showing the different types of spearheads.
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Old 15th February 2021, 04:55 PM   #9
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One more of my Zulu ? wall. Still looking for a shield! This will give an overall idea of spear sizes in relation to one another.

Regards,
Norman.
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Last edited by Norman McCormick; 15th February 2021 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 15th February 2021, 08:19 PM   #10
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Awesome collection of Zulu Spears and clubs! Are the spears that are wrapped with hide or rattan older than those wrapped with wire?
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Old 16th February 2021, 08:33 AM   #11
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Very nice Nguni collection Norman, thanks for showing.
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Old 16th February 2021, 09:04 AM   #12
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A very nice collection indeed

I am looking at some Spears which at first glance I took to be Zulu but the
tang for the spear head is square rather than round, is this unusual or incorrect?

Due to travel lockdown I cant view in person
also the butt of the shaft has a round ball like terminal

There is wire braiding though which looks to be of good workmanship.

any ideas,

Regards

Ken
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Old 16th February 2021, 12:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
A very nice collection indeed

I am looking at some Spears which at first glance I took to be Zulu but the
tang for the spear head is square rather than round, is this unusual or incorrect?

Due to travel lockdown I cant view in person
also the butt of the shaft has a round ball like terminal

There is wire braiding though which looks to be of good workmanship.

any ideas,

Regards

Ken
Ken, from your description this sounds like from further north, maybe Zimbabwe or Malawi areas.
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Old 16th February 2021, 02:05 PM   #14
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Thanks Colin

Live auction so no photos as per forum rules
If it is going cheap I will go for it.
Cheers
Ken
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Old 16th February 2021, 05:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k
Awesome collection of Zulu Spears and clubs! Are the spears that are wrapped with hide or rattan older than those wrapped with wire?
Hi,
I would think so but Colin is the guy to ask. Thanks for your comments.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th February 2021, 05:11 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Very nice Nguni collection Norman, thanks for showing.
Hi Colin,
Thanks for your interest. Would you think no's 1,2 and maybe 3 are the older ones ?
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th February 2021, 05:12 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
A very nice collection indeed

I am looking at some Spears which at first glance I took to be Zulu but the
tang for the spear head is square rather than round, is this unusual or incorrect?

Due to travel lockdown I cant view in person
also the butt of the shaft has a round ball like terminal

There is wire braiding though which looks to be of good workmanship.

any ideas,

Regards

Ken
Hi Ken,
Thanks, had I been quicker off the mark I would have suggested that this was a question for Colin but I see he was faster.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 17th February 2021, 08:32 AM   #18
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Regarding the age of spears from Southern Africa. Unlike with European Arms, it is difficult to judge the age of African spears, without a collection provenance, old labels etc. In addition the style of spear could stay the same for very long periods.

However, a few pointers regarding age can be :-

a) Colour of the wood (wood darkens over time).
b) Use of modern materials in manufacture, such as aluminium or telephone wire for binding.
c) Quality of work, this tends to be lower in later times.
d) I usually think if there are file marks visible on the blade, this indicates later work.

The spears shown by Norman, all seem good old 19th century or very early 20th century examples, from the images. Regarding wirework for binding - copper, brass and steel wire (traded from Europeans) has been used on old examples. It seems however, the Zulus mainly preferred hide cow tail for attaching the blade.

Some references that can be useful :-

"Zulu Treasures" by KwaZulu Cultural and the Local History Museums. 1996
"Weapons and Implements of Savage Races" by Lieut-Col. Montague 1921
"The Natural History of Man : Africa" by Rev. J G Wood 1874
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Old 17th February 2021, 09:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
One more of my Zulu ? wall. Still looking for a shield! This will give an overall idea of spear sizes in relation to one another.
Beautiful display Norman!
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Old 17th February 2021, 06:16 PM   #20
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Hi Colin,
Thanks for the information. I remember, I think, reading somewhere that the bigger wider blades tend to be older whether this is true or not I don't know.
My Regards,
Norman.


Hi Sajen,
Thanks for your interest.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 17th February 2021, 10:36 PM   #21
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My three Ik'lwa and an Iwisa.

Note that the Zulu took tribute from the tribes they conquered, including having them make their weapons, so they do vary a bit.

The Iwisa (knobkerry in Boer Dutch) were frequently dished, when stored leaning on a wall the dish would have a lump of fat in it to melt and keep the ball head from splitting. Some larger ones had a 2nd dished bit opposite the first and they'd alternate which was up and greased.

Zulu throwing spears had more slender shafts, shorter blades and long tangs protruding from the sockets, the Ik'lwa ('assegai' is european) tangs were almost fully hidden by their sockets. Zulu did make their own iron and brass/copper wire before the Europeans. The common soldiers got the ones with cow tail sleeves, braided wire and thongs were for higher ranks. spear and ik'lwa blades almost invariably had a distinctive 'pinch' or notch mark bboth sides where the blade joins the tang. (Bottom)
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Old 22nd April 2021, 07:57 PM   #22
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Default Mind indicating where the Iklwa's points of balance are?

On mine, I've noticed the point of balance is perfectly positioned to allow one to carry the spear all day.

The forefinger is positioned to guide the weapon's tip and the "grip fingers" lie just behind a ridge to prevent the hand from slipping up the blade.
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Old 23rd April 2021, 07:32 PM   #23
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The story goes that it was Chaka who “ invented” Iklwa. Perhaps, it is really true. But Iklwa was only an instrument of his real invention: instead of ineffectual and largely symbolic exchange of throwing spears at a respectable distance, he demanded close combat with the intent to kill. Realistically, Iklwas and old throwing spears were equally deadly: no matter where at the torso you stick your blade , at the depth of 2-3 inches you hit a vital organ. Iklwa with its oversized blade became more frightening and killed right away instead of in 5 minutes.
But the important novelty was his re-tooling his army: instead of ritualistic line-to-line hour long throwing spears back and forth he invented concepts of the center and surrounding flanks with close contact and with annihilation of the enemy on site. Iklwa was no longer a spear: it became kind of a sword with long handle, akin to Indian Bhuj or Yakut Batyjya. Hand-to-hand weapon instead of line-to- line.
Chaka was like Genghiz Khan, who reinvented his army on the principles of speed, tight control by the leader, feints and slaighter.
There is a book by a Russian emigree Michael Prawdin , who lived in Germany and published a book there about Mongol Empire in 1938 ( highly recommended!!!). It became a standard reading by the German General Staff. Apparently, Guderian took these principles into his concept of mobile tank warfare instead of a static one during WWI.

Good ideas never die.
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Old 23rd April 2021, 08:12 PM   #24
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Well built synopsis indeed, Ariel
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Old 26th April 2021, 06:09 PM   #25
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I think of it like Shaka 'Romanized' his infantry. Genghis Khan and the mongols were more cavalry oriented, tactics and weapons were different to infantry ones.

Shaka led a highly mobile Infantry regimental system, made use of the shield wall and short stabbing weapons of the Romans. European use of cavalry took advantage of a weakness Rome had, when they took warfare to the Parthians, they had few long range missile weapons, and horse archers massacred the Romans. It took 60 years for Rome to evolve with more missile weapons, archers and slingers, and plumbata to supplement the short range heavy Pilum, and with increased cavalry, they then massacred the Parthians. (The Mongols massacred them later on too.)

Shaka's 'Empire' was too small to support a real Legionary armament infrastructure, and no cavalry or artillery, or siege warfare traditions of any kind. The Brits didn't leave them alone long enough to develop (or pay for) any.
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Old 26th April 2021, 08:56 PM   #26
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I was wondering about the second spear from the left; I have one and soon I'll add another one. The configuration was the same as the Zulu throwing spear, however, it is much too short; about the length of the stabbing spear. I don't think that it has been cut down because the shaft is too small, it is in proportion to the spearhead and as mentioned, I now have seen 3 of these.
Were these used by women, young boys, or for ceremonial purposes?
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Old Yesterday, 04:01 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
I was wondering about the second spear from the left; I have one and soon I'll add another one. The configuration was the same as the Zulu throwing spear, however, it is much too short; about the length of the stabbing spear. I don't think that it has been cut down because the shaft is too small, it is in proportion to the spearhead and as mentioned, I now have seen 3 of these.
Were these used by women, young boys, or for ceremonial purposes?
Hi,
My apologies for not getting back to you, I missed this post. The two reasons I have read for what one might think of as throwing spears to be shortened was 1) a bring back souvenir, from colonial times, was cut down to accomodate luggage requirements and 2) shortened for use as a stabbing weapon. The one I have has been cut and not sawn which makes me think it may have been shortened to use as a weapon but of course this is just conjecture as it could just as well have been chopped by a souvenir hunter with an axe. Looking at the patination on the cut end it was done quite some time ago. There may be other explanations that I am unaware of.
My Regards,
Norman.
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