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Old 25th July 2021, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default Salampasu dagger, sword South Congo

Date provided was 50ies-60ies but seller told me Africa was not his speciality...
he was told is was a Salampasu dagger, sword from the South of Congo

steel blade, wooden handle, scabbard wood with leather and rattan
total lenght 54,5 cm

Your thoughts ?
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Old 25th July 2021, 08:22 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by gp View Post
Date provided was 50ies-60ies but seller told me Africa was not his speciality...
he was told is was a Salampasu dagger, sword from the South of Congo

steel blade, wooden handle, scabbard wood with leather and rattan
total lenght 54,5 cm

Your thoughts ?

Hi gp

The seller was correct it is Salampasu or Lwelwa see Panga na Visu page 213 plate 509 I am sorry but I can't help with the date

Regards

Miguel
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Old 25th July 2021, 09:10 PM   #3
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thank you very much ! I was able to find more info based upon your input :

it is indeed a Salampasu dagger; the Salampasu, who live south of the Lwalwa and the Mbagani and west of the Lulua River, once had a reputation as fierce warriors and headhunters.
The dagger / sword looks indeed like daggers / swords made between 1920 -1935.
Mine was brought to Europe in the 1950/60 by Belgian Society "the White Fathers" Missionaries for Africa. Actually I found the original picture of the lot containing several Salampasu daggers
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Old 25th July 2021, 09:43 PM   #4
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some more info for those interested...

From the Smithsonian:

More than an object for defense and attack, this short sword is an item of regalia, denoting status and membership in the hierarchical warriors' society of the Salampasu peoples.
The Salampasu consist of seven independent clans who live in the south-central portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Short swords of this type were carried and brandished by masked dancers belonging to the warriors' society called mungongo, a governing institution that served to integrate young men into Salampasu society, to foster cooperation among communities when responding to outside threats and to monitor events and discourage violence at community gatherings such as public dances and funerals.
Wealthy warriors traditionally controlled material resources including iron-ore sources and raw and worked metal (knives and swords fell into this category), and they exercised authority over the blacksmiths who fashioned implements out of worked metal.
Sources indicate that in the early 1960s the Salampasu destroyed their masks and disbanded the mungongo in an effort to reinforce the authority of new chiefs who eschewed more traditional institutions and practices. However, recent research in 1989 documented that initiations and masked dances were still taking place.
The collector of this Salampasu sword, Emil Gorlia, served as a circuit court judge and later as a senior official of the Congo administration, finally becoming secretary general of the Ministry of Colonies. Between 1905 and 1927 he made six extended trips through southern Congo, particularly present-day Shaba province.
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Old 26th July 2021, 05:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gp View Post
some more info for those interested...

From the Smithsonian:

More than an object for defense and attack, this short sword is an item of regalia, denoting status and membership in the hierarchical warriors' society of the Salampasu peoples.
The Salampasu consist of seven independent clans who live in the south-central portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Short swords of this type were carried and brandished by masked dancers belonging to the warriors' society called mungongo, a governing institution that served to integrate young men into Salampasu society, to foster cooperation among communities when responding to outside threats and to monitor events and discourage violence at community gatherings such as public dances and funerals.
Wealthy warriors traditionally controlled material resources including iron-ore sources and raw and worked metal (knives and swords fell into this category), and they exercised authority over the blacksmiths who fashioned implements out of worked metal.
Sources indicate that in the early 1960s the Salampasu destroyed their masks and disbanded the mungongo in an effort to reinforce the authority of new chiefs who eschewed more traditional institutions and practices. However, recent research in 1989 documented that initiations and masked dances were still taking place.
The collector of this Salampasu sword, Emil Gorlia, served as a circuit court judge and later as a senior official of the Congo administration, finally becoming secretary general of the Ministry of Colonies. Between 1905 and 1927 he made six extended trips through southern Congo, particularly present-day Shaba province.
Glad to be of some help and thank you for posting the info on the Salampasu which I found most interesting.
Regards
Miguel
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Old 31st July 2021, 04:24 PM   #6
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Hi GP, your Salampasu's twin brother is in my house ...
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Old 1st August 2021, 12:05 AM   #7
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Hi GP, your Salampasu's twin brother is in my house ...
grazie mille & congratulations ( better late then never)☺☼☺

Question: what is the material between the blade and the grip ?
And what would be its function?
Mine doesn't have it but I suspected something might be missing at mine

greetings from Paesi Bassi

Gunar
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Old 1st August 2021, 11:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Duccio View Post
Hi GP, your Salampasu's twin brother is in my house ...
I have another one that looks exactly the same.
I fear that at least the scabbards of the most swords were newly produced. They look too good to have ever been used.
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Old 1st August 2021, 12:49 PM   #9
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I guess it's a sort of hand protection.
Not every Salampasu sword shares this feature.
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Old 1st August 2021, 04:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gp View Post
grazie mille & congratulations ( better late then never)☺☼☺

Question: what is the material between the blade and the grip ?
And what would be its function?
Mine doesn't have it but I suspected something might be missing at mine

greetings from Paesi Bassi

Gunar
It is a kind of rope of vegetable fibers, I think it serves to hold the blade firmly inside the handle, which has a slit. Maybe it's good that your knife doesn't have it; if the blade is firm, it means that the rope is not needed.
Saluti da Firenze.
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Old 1st August 2021, 09:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duccio View Post
It is a kind of rope of vegetable fibers, I think it serves to hold the blade firmly inside the handle, which has a slit. Maybe it's good that your knife doesn't have it; if the blade is firm, it means that the rope is not needed.
Saluti da Firenze.

thank you all gents for your feedback ! Also about the scabbards. Highly appreciated !

buona sera Duccio,

with reference to the picture you added, would the Salampasu in the leopard troussers be one of the notorious "leopardmen"or just a warrior wearing the skin of the animal to show his warrior status in a symbolic way ?

Saluti da Maastricht☼
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Old 6th August 2021, 05:59 PM   #12
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Hi GP,
I don't know how to answer you ... I guess your second hypothesis is true, anyway.
I only found this little information on the sites to which I give you the link:
https://www.gettyimages.ch/detail/na...28?language=it
https://soulsafari.wordpress.com/201...lampasu-zaire/

Saluti!
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Old 6th August 2021, 06:31 PM   #13
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Thought I should add mine. One of the few blades I have left.
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Old 8th August 2021, 12:48 PM   #14
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thank you all for your contributions.

The ratan, straw or organic material was indeed common practice to fasten the grip of the blade. A few pictures added

I was able to find some more info on the Salampasu:

The 60,000 Salampasu people live east of the Kasai River, on the frontier between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola.
Their name is said to mean “hunters of locusts”, but they were widely viewed with terror by adjacent groups.
They maintain strong commercial and cultural relations with their southern neighbors, the Chokwe and the Lunda, to whom they pay tribute.
The Salampasu are homogeneous people governed by territorial chiefs, who supervise village chiefs.
Their hierarchical power structure is counterbalanced by a warriors' society. A people with a reputation as fearless warriors, the Salampasu have retained the custom of a rough and primitive life. Warring and hunting are privileged occupations, but the women do some farming.

Salampasu masks were integral part of the warriors’ society whose primary task was to protect this small enclave against invasions by outside kingdoms. Boys were initiated into the warriors’ society through a circumcision camp, and then rose through its ranks by gaining access to a hierarchy of masks.
Earning the right to wear a mask involved performing specific deeds and large payments of livestock, drink and other material goods. Once a man ‘owned’ the mask, other ‘owners’ taught this new member particular esoteric knowledge associated with it.

The Salampasu use masks made from wood, crocheted raffia, and wood covered with sheets of copper. Famous Salampasu masks made for initiation purposes are characterized by a bulging forehead, slanted eyes, a triangular nose and a rectangular mouth displaying intimidating set of teeth. The heads are often covered with bamboo or raffia or rattan-like decorations. Presented in a progressive order to future initiates, they symbolize the three levels of the society: hunters, warriors, and the chief.
Certain masks provoke such terror that women and children flee the village when they hear the mask's name pronounced for fear they will die on the spot.
Wooden masks covered or not covered with copper sheets are worn by members of the ibuku warrior association who have killed in battle.
The masks made of plaited raffia fiber are used by the idangani association. Throughout the southern savannah region copper was a prerogative of leadership, used to legitimize a person’s or a group’s control of the majority of the people.

Possessing many masks indicated not only wealth but also knowledge. Filing teeth making part of many wooden masks was part of the initiation process for both boys and girls designed to demonstrate the novices’ strength and discipline.
Salampasu masquerades were held in wooden enclosures decorated with anthropomorphic figures carved in relief.
The costume, composed of animal skins, feathers, and fibers, is as important as the mask itself. It has been sacralized, and the spirit dwells within it.
Masks are still being danced as part of male circumcision ceremonies.
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Old 8th August 2021, 08:04 PM   #15
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some more on the Salampasu (Asalampasu, Basalampasu, Mpasu, Sala Mpasu) and their masks:

Ceremonial mask: a warrior people comprising 60,000 individuals, the Salampasu live in Shaba province between the rivers Lulua and Lueta, tributaries of the Kasai River. Their name is said to mean “hunters of locusts”, but they were widely viewed with terror by adjacent groups.
They are constituted by independent lineages, without a centralized system of power.
The chiefs are chosen from among those who have shown the most aptitude for leadership. They have retained the customs of a rough and primitive life. The Salampasu live mostly from hunting, but the women do some farming.

The masks, regardless of their material composition, are worn in the initiation rites of men’s associations, on occasion of bereavement or enthronement, as well as to pay homage to headhunters. The costume, composed of animal skins, feathers, and fibers, is as important as the mask itself. Salampasu masquerades were held in wooden enclosures decorated with anthropomorphic figures carved in relief.

The Mugongo society of warriors is responsible for the protection of Salampasu communities; society members protect against invasion from rival clans or other external forces. To become a member of Mugongo, Salampasu boys must be circumcised and pass through its various initiation sub-societies, the highest of which is the society called Matambu (within which the highest initiate level is called the Mukish).

Each initiation sub-society has an associated mask type which the boys gain access to upon completing the initiation level and paying an initiation fee. Associated with the Ibuku initiation level, kasangu masks are only available to warriors that have killed and decapitated an enemy in battle.

Distinguishing Features:

Headdress made of balls of cane
Carved of wood and painted
Sometimes painted white with kaolin clay
Others have surface painted, red, black or divided into black and red sections
Domed forehead
Sunken eye sockets
Tubular ears
Large, broad triangular nose
Pierced nostrils
Aggressive mouth
Material often wood, copper sheets, vegetable fiber

enclosed a link by LUC LEFEBVRE with some excellent masks (and alspo other very beautiful info: http://ethnotribalart.com/)

http://lulef.free.fr/Masques/#masque...pasu%20(1).JPG
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Old 8th August 2021, 08:39 PM   #16
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forgot one...☻
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