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Gergely

Sources of Knowledge about Historical African Blades

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Hi,

 

I was wondering anyone else is interested in old African blade styles. I like to browse this site:

 

http://anthro.amnh.org/africa

 

It's the website of the African Ethnographic Collection of the American Museum of Natural History and there is some very nice and wide material on it. 

If you type "knife" in the search field you get 1320 results with pictures and some details. "Axe" delivers about 300 results. It can be very useful when trying to identify african blades.

 

I thought maybe someone could use this or look at it just for fun. 

 

Also if you know some other good source on the subject please share it.

 

Bests to all of you!

 

Gergely

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Thank you, I've saved the link.

 

And a bit of a rant on my side, but it irritates me when people lump everything African together. It is a big continent, and there is a lot of difference between different cultures. 

 

I like to tell people that Nigeria is closer to Germany than South Africa.

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Hi Jacques, you live in Africa maybe you know my friend Mohamed he's from there on the coast....er I think Djibouti........ :D is that far from you?

Or something like that.

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Well, now you've given me something to keep me completely distracted during the slow bits at work.....you had me at the first knife to pop up, some kind of throwing knife/skinner? from Gabon.

 

I love the different "flavors" of knife making they have, styles and angles, decor, carving on the knives and the sheathes (again one of the first couple pages had a bizarre looking 3 bladed throwing knife, some that look like shoehorns, or the handle is a tiny tang with a vegetable fiber wrapping). Contrast with some that show influences from ancient Europe, Persia, etc. A few that strongly resemble old Egyptian daggers, Roman gladiuseseses......gladii?, billhooks, arabic styles of knives, (in non-arabic African countries) and so on.

 

It ain't Africa, but I've run into similar problems with Texas. People don't realize Texarkana is closer to New York than El Paso, and I don't even want to be reminded of all the times I've been overseas and had people ask me, in deadly earnest if I rode a horse to work. Or stateside heard "Oh, my son's in the army too, he's stationed at ........ Do you know him?"

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We often get people thinking Africa = backward and primitive . South Africa is anything but, yeah we have bad/corrupt politicians and incompetent and corrupt civil servants etc. But we produce 60000+ of both BMW and Mercedes per annum and have large manufacturing plants for Opel, VW, Toyota, Nissan and others.  

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Africa is bigger than the USA  which is saying quite a bit! 

 

I live near TX and everytime I come home from visiting my parents I see a sign on I-10 that says Beaumont Tx 834 miles...I used to tell European colleagues that we'd go farther for lunch than they could travel and stay in the same country...(I've eaten at the Owl Bar where the Trinity Site people used to eat; it's about an hour to the Trinity site by modern fast roads; back in the 1940's it must have been quite the trip just for lunch...)

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Thank you all for the conversation!

 

 

Thank you, I've saved the link.

 

And a bit of a rant on my side, but it irritates me when people lump everything African together. It is a big continent, and there is a lot of difference between different cultures. 

 

I like to tell people that Nigeria is closer to Germany than South Africa.

 

Sorry to be "lumping". You're right: when I say African blades, I usually mean Central-African or the Congo-region blades. (Which itself is a very nice and big territory.)

 

 

Well, now you've given me something to keep me completely distracted during the slow bits at work.....you had me at the first knife to pop up, some kind of throwing knife/skinner? from Gabon.

I love the different "flavors" of knife making they have, styles and angles, decor, carving on the knives and the sheathes (again one of the first couple pages had a bizarre looking 3 bladed throwing knife, some that look like shoehorns, or the handle is a tiny tang with a vegetable fiber wrapping). Contrast with some that show influences from ancient Europe, Persia, etc. A few that strongly resemble old Egyptian daggers, Roman gladiuseseses......gladii?, billhooks, arabic styles of knives, (in non-arabic African countries) and so on.

 

Hey, I'm glad to help you trough a hard workday :). I have had some first aid from this site on some very long and boring days, too.: - It's lunchtime already? But this was only item 316... 

That first one is one of the famous so called bird's head knives usually used and produced by the tribes Kota and their neighbors the Fang. These knives are pretty rare nowadays. They are prestige knives and symbolize the power and wealth of the owner. They may originate from some throwing knife design, but are way too unbalanced to throw.

The different styles are what got me in those, too. And the whole: is this a knife, a sword, an ax or what? Amazing how many different designs can develop from a couple of basic ideas.

 

 

The Museum of Making, near Cochrane Alberta has a huge collection of African trinkets. It is a private Museum built in an underground, temperature controlled vault. http://www3.museumofmaking.org/dbtw-wpd/machine.htm

 

Neil

 

Thank you Neil! I chekced out and saved it. Useful comments besides the pictures.

 

 

Be well:

Gergely

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