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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Jun, 2013 9:49 pm    Post subject: Does this look like a ceremonial weapon to you?         Reply with quote

This came up while doing light research (internet sources only, so far) on African arms and armor. The Gbaya culture created a rather interesting-looking weapon that seems to have been an attempt to make a sword with one cutting edge and one chopping edge. It sacrifices any possibility of an effective thrust, though, so I'm honestly not sure if it's a ceremonial weapon or not.

The first file is the weapon itself.

The second file (which I did not caption, by the way -- there is no way this blade's a throwing knife) shows a group of Gbayas posing for a European photographer (no idea what the original source was, worse luck). The tall guy to the center-right of the photo has one of these weapons, which suggests that they were used in warfare, but doesn't guarantee it.

Basically, I'd like some opinions from our expert community as to whether or not this is a practical or ceremonial weapon, please.



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S Ghajar




Location: Fort Collins
Joined: 14 Jun 2013

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Jun, 2013 9:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm definitely not an expert, but I've seen lots of pictures of these labelled as throwing knives and a quick glance at wikipedia confirms the common use of the label: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Throwing_knife#Central_Africa

Edit to add: Here's a more reputable source: http://www.amazon.com/The-Cutting-Edge-Throwi...9054500077

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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Jun, 2013 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't see why it can't be a throwing "knife." It resembles a metal tomahawk, but with more edge. I see no reason you can't throw it just like a tomahawk.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quite frankly, it looks like an agricultural tool, comparable to a bilhook or pruning tool.
It probably works great for killing as well, if not figthing.

"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
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Daniel Sullivan




Location: California
Joined: 02 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject: Does this look like ...         Reply with quote

Believe it is indeed a throwing knife. Appears to be too well done and decorated to be a common agricultural tool. There are over a dozen such items illustrated in Stones Glossary on pg. 614. with related text on pg. 615. And in Edged Weapons (Frederick Wilkinson-1970) pg. 181, there is a short commentary on throwing knives. Although there are probably hundreds of these still around, although similar, I suspect there are no two alike.

Never had much interest in African weapons and always passed on the opportunities to pick one up ... now regret those decisions; Tuareg swords in particular.

Regards,
Dan
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 306

PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2013 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm going to respectfully disagree and argue that this is a sword rather than a throwing weapon. It looks like a variant of a kind of sword used in the Upper Nile/Congo Basin region in the late 1800s. Variations include the Zande mambeli and Ngombe girafe. These were definitely used as swords, together with shields. See for example Spring 1993.

http://www.forensicfashion.com/1860ZandeWarrior.html


http://www.forensicfashion.com/1878CongoleseWarrior.html

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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