Throwing Knife (Democratic Republic of the Congo), Created before 1889
This is a Throwing knife.
Made of local iron, this throwing knife was fashioned by professional blacksmiths. Smiths were not only masters of the technical skills required to forge and shape iron, but they were steeped in the ritual aspects of their work. A smith’s tools included an anvil on which to pound out the iron, several types of hammers and chisel-like tools, and materials and instruments to sharpen the blades and prepare the surface of the knife. While engineered to be thrown underhand horizontally from the hip, this multibladed knife had other practical uses as well: as a dagger, an axe and as a blade to cut a path through brush. Because iron was such a valuable material, these knives were prestige items and could be used as currency. This is one of sixty knives collected by Herbert Ward in the Congo Free State, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between 1884 and 1889.
It is credited
Herbert Ward Collection, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E322652-11.
Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 1.9 x 33.7 x 35.9 cm (3/4 x 13 1/4 x 14 1/8 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.