- Label Text
- This knife was described by the donor as Zande, although other sources have identified it as Nsakara. Implements such as hoes, as well as throwing knives and other weapons, serve a utilitarian function. In some cases these objects were also used as currency. Other evidence suggests, however, that they were emblems of office or status carried in dances or at other ceremonial occasions, and were not currency at all. Fabricated from copper, bronze, iron and brass, these objects constitute some of the most dramatic and varied of African currency forms.
- Currency derived from the thowing knife came in many shapes and sizes, but its distinctive feature is the complexity in the orientation and size of its blades. These flattened shapes, often very thin, posed technical challenges to the blacksmith, whose work required considerable skill and craftmanship. In addition, many of the throwing knives were elaborately decorated, sometimes on the blades and other times only on the handles.
- Throwing knives are reported to have been used for bridewealth. Bridewealth is the exchange of currency or valuable goods and services to acknowledge all that the bride brings to her husband and his family, including the hope of descendants.
- Y form iron throwing knife with spur near handle, which is wrapped in plant fiber, and heart shaped upper tips.
- Eliot Elisofon, New York, -- to 1973
- Data Source
- National Museum of African Art
- Undetermined artist
- Late 19th-early 20th century
- Credit Line
- Bequest of Eliot Elisofon
- Iron, plant fiber
- H x W x D: 43 x 17.5 x 0.5cm (16 15/16 x 6 7/8 x 3/16in.)