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Old 3rd May 2022, 01:31 PM   #1
newola
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Default Rungu?

Good afternoon all. I recently acquired this club and bought it labelled as a Maasai íRunguí. After receiving the item, although happy with it, and looking at other examples online Iím now unsure of its origins.

Itís got some age to it but I wouldnít venture exceptionally old. It measures 51 cm long and has grooves cut toward the head end. The shaft has a palm swell also.

Can anyone please identify or confirm itís origins? Also what is the 2 tone wood it has been made from please?

Many thanks

Al
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Old 4th May 2022, 01:56 AM   #2
RobT
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Default Two Rungu Types

Hi Al,

I have a few clubs but I am far from knowledgeable about them, so take what I have to say with some salt. AFAIK, rungu come in two flavors. The type with the offset head is the one more commonly encountered while the straight version is less frequently seen. I have submitted a picture of a straight one in my collection. I have seen a few others like it but I have never seen one with a carved shaft like yours. That doesn't mean that they don't exist as a traditional form or that yours is a tourist version. Yours could be an even more rare variant. Consider also that clubs are very commonly carried by many African groups and groups other than the Maasai use clubs similar to those carried by the Maasai. Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable than myself will soon comment.

Sincerely,
RobT
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Old 4th May 2022, 09:35 AM   #3
kronckew
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More traditional Ma'asi rung throwing clubu, one ebony, the other olive wood. Yours may have been acquired by a wandering ma'asi as a souvenir, but are not, as far as I can see, traditional forms. More like knobkerries, which frequently used two-tone assagai wood (Curtisia dentata, ie. dogwood)


Lengths vary, as does the wood, they sometimes blacken the lighter ones to look like ebony. They, like their spears, are still working tools, not ornaments.


My two:
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Old 4th May 2022, 09:37 AM   #4
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Gents, I appreciate your feedback. Either way it's a nice display piece and is very tactile.

Al
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Old 4th May 2022, 11:00 AM   #5
David R
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A recently purchased one in my collection. Vendors photo and description.
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Old 4th May 2022, 05:31 PM   #6
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I believe the Rungu is the bent head club. Which is a weapon your club is like these more of a dress item some are related to status, here is a pic of one in the form of your but with beads. I no longer have it. Why I got rid of it I do not understand now.
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Old 4th May 2022, 10:35 PM   #7
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Default Yours Looks Like Mine

Tim Simmons,

The second to last club you show looks pretty much like mine. Neither yours nor mine look like dress or status items. They aren't finely finished or gussied up in any way but they both look like they could deliver a devastating blow. Maybe they aren't Maasai?

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Old 9th May 2022, 07:46 AM   #8
Tim Simmons
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Suit.
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Old 10th May 2022, 11:26 PM   #9
RobT
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Default Suit?

Tim Simmons,

I am unclear about the meaning of "suit". Could you elaborate? Two things are for certain: One, the suit is certainly holding a showy version of a straight rungu and two, the showy version looks rather small and ineffectual when compared to the examples we posted. That being the case, the question then becomes why someone would hold such an item aloft in such a manner if it didn't symbolically reference a legitimate cultural artifact? By holding his dress club, the suit obviously wants to show strength of leadership and respect for tradition. Would it not be logical to suppose that, in order for the dress version to be symbolically effective, it must represent a traditional form? If the bent head rungu is the only culturally correct type, why isn't the suit holding a dress version of that?

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RobT
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Old 11th May 2022, 08:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobT View Post
Tim Simmons,

I am unclear about the meaning of "suit".

Urban Dictionary Link


...as in someone in a suit who doesn't get their hands dirty, a boss, manager, politician, dictator, President-for-life, etc. Like the one in the photo. He appears to be Daniel arap Moi, former president (22 August 1978 – 30 December 2002) of Kenya, A Kikuyu by tribal association.

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Old 12th May 2022, 02:50 AM   #11
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Default Not one of the polli, eh?

Hi kronckew,

The person in the suit may be all that his attire implies but, what he is holding and the talismanic manner in which he is holding it, says that he wants his audience to believe that underneath the fancy clothing, he is one of them and, if the sophistication that is part and parcel of the stage he occupies, were to be stripped away, his core aspirations for the people are the same as they have for themselves. The suit holds that club to show that he can be trusted to be all the voters want in a leader. So, the question remains, if the club doesn't have a valid, traditional shape, how can it impart the image that the person holding it is trying to convey? Perhaps the shape is traditional with the Kikuyu, not the Maasai?

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RobT
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Old 12th May 2022, 07:40 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=RobT;271833]Hi kronckew,

... Perhaps the shape is traditional with the Kikuyu, not the Maasai?
.../QUOTE]

Maybe we should say 'East African'. Stuff gets traded and moves around easily.

p.s. - Had coffee with my retired Zimbabwean neighbours yesterday, mentioned the photo, they never heard of Daniel. (They looked him up on Google on their smart phone. Still didn't ring any bells.)

They left Z a few years back after losing their farm and everything. One of their siblings & children still there visited the UK for a week, and went home Tues. Luckily, they also have relatives here in the UK as a support group.


Decorative Batons as symbols of power for leaders, military & civil, have been around for millennia.


A Roman Senatorial baton for a Legion's commanding Legate: It appears to be, like Danny's, made of ivory with gold trim.
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