Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > Ethnographic Weapons

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 5th June 2022, 08:19 PM   #1
drac2k
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,006
Default A Most Unusual Zulu Spear

At first glance, one would think that there wasn't anything special about this spear; maybe even subpar, as the lance made such a forceful impact that it drove the spearhead further into the shaft, causing it to split much as a wedge would act upon a piece of gum or that the lance has been cut down to 40".
The spear becomes special when one looks at the logo on the spearhead "W.MARPLES& SONS," which was a tool manufacturer in Sheffield England for over 200 years. I contacted an expert collector of these tools(yes other people collect other things than swords & knives), and he told me that logo on the spearhead dated it between 1875 & 1895. I asked him did this company ever make trade blades such as knives and spearheads and sold them for barter, much like the Hudson Bay Company and others did with the local natives; he answered that he was unaware of this being the case, but that he couldn't figure out what tool could be reshaped to make this item. The spearhead doesn't seem to have any irregularities or forging flaws or grind marks to my untrained eye that would lead me to think that it was a locally repurposed tool.
My theory comes to a grinding halt one thinks that this spearhead would have been sold to the Zulus in the heighth of their wars with England; not an act that would have been condoned by the home country. A possibility is that this is not a Zulu spear, but a Shona or other South African one, for tribes that may have aligned themselves with England against the feared conquering Zulus.
Any other theories are welcome
Attached Images
           
drac2k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th June 2022, 09:58 AM   #2
David R
Member
 
David R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 909
Default

A nice little puzzle indeed.
David R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th June 2022, 09:52 PM   #3
Tim Simmons
Member
 
Tim Simmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: What is still UK
Posts: 5,576
Default

I would not be surprised if industrial spear heads were made to trade in Southern Africa. This spear could be from many people's of Southern Africa rather than just today's South Africa.
Tim Simmons is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 6th June 2022, 10:35 PM   #4
ariel
Member
 
ariel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 5,387
Default

Did this spear win the Battle of Isandlwana?:-)
ariel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 7th June 2022, 12:29 AM   #5
drac2k
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,006
Default

No that would be mere speculation...............but it did belong to Shaka Zulu, LOL.
Yes, it could certainly have belonged to other past South African Tribes, but I based my attribution of it being a Zulu spear due to its construction and the wire work; the irony of it being manufactured between 1875 - 1895, by a British Company during the height of the Zulu Wars seemed to call for another explanation.
drac2k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2022, 02:50 PM   #6
thinreadline
Member
 
thinreadline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wirral
Posts: 1,180
Default

Black S African Police were issued with spears during the 20th C , I dont know , but wonder , if indeed the issue ones were actually supplied under contract from British firms ?
thinreadline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25th June 2022, 11:53 PM   #7
David R
Member
 
David R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 909
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline View Post
Black S African Police were issued with spears during the 20th C , I dont know , but wonder , if indeed the issue ones were actually supplied under contract from British firms ?
Something to be considered.
David R is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2022, 11:35 AM   #8
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,902
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline View Post
Black S African Police were issued with spears during the 20th C , I dont know , but wonder , if indeed the issue ones were actually supplied under contract from British firms ?
Euopean made police 'Assegai' were indeed issued to native police in lieu of firearms. They were however much more substatial, with socketed heads. The Zulu spears with long shanks protruding past the bindings were invariably throwing spears, not Iklwa. They also tended to have longer hafts for throwing.


"This is a South African Police Service Assegai.

The spear is 44 inches long. (112.5 cm)

The blade is 14 inches by 2 inches (36 cm x 4.5 cm) Shaft is 5 inches long. (13 cm) Although it appears the shaft is a ferrule or socket I don't think it is. The binding is knurled steel and has two cross pins that appear to hold the blade tang in the haft.

The haft is a wood turning with a flared butt. The butt cap is steel and attached with a single screw.

All metal parts are marked with either a U or a Broad arrow U indicating Union of South African Defence.

This spear is about the size of a Zulu iKlwa or amaPhondo iKhebezane but it is substantially heavier. Given the heavier haft and unlike the iKlwa and iKhebezane this spear is very balanced and probably could be thrown. Also as heavy as it is the spear butt end could be used as a night stick.
There were officers who still carried these on duty in the 1970s."


There is also a longer version. I've heard they also can be found with an auxilliary 2nd haft piece that can be screwed in to make the longer military version. I also note that the butt of the spear haft had an angled notch for the thumb so they could index the heads easily on parade to align the edges together.



See also http://vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=8054
Attached Images
 

Last edited by kronckew; 26th June 2022 at 12:03 PM.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th June 2022, 11:48 AM   #9
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,902
Default

My Lklwa for illustration:
Attached Images
  
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th June 2022, 08:50 PM   #10
colin henshaw
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,414
Default

An interesting spear, it reminds me of one I had many years ago, which was made from a repurposed "Sorby" brand chisel. Luckily, I kept this old polaroid photo (its the spear in the middle). Maybe old steel tools were trade items in Southern Africa for making assegai blades, along with other imported European products ?
Attached Images
 
colin henshaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th June 2022, 08:44 AM   #11
kronckew
Member
 
kronckew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Room 101, Glos. UK
Posts: 3,902
Default

So. Africa has made steel tools for quite a while, including sharp pointy things. I have a number of knives made in So. Africa. They still do. The non-zulu Shona tribes also made tools and weapons for the Zulu as tribute. They also repurposed european tools (like herb choppers) into weapons.
kronckew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th June 2022, 12:20 PM   #12
drac2k
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,006
Default

Colin, what a great collection of spears! I could very readily accept that my spearhead was forged from a European tool; the only thing that gives me hesitation is that it is so symmetrical and the lack of any forging flaws.
drac2k is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30th June 2022, 04:26 PM   #13
colin henshaw
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,414
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by drac2k View Post
Colin, what a great collection of spears! I could very readily accept that my spearhead was forged from a European tool; the only thing that gives me hesitation is that it is so symmetrical and the lack of any forging flaws.
Thanks, glad you like the spears. The photo is 30+ years ago. Regarding the "European spear blades" - perhaps both possibilities are correct.
colin henshaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.