Double Sickle Blade, bango or bwagogambanza
Lobala / Mondzombo / Ngbaka / Bondjo, D.R. Congo
Iron, wood, copper
Early 20th century
In abstract human form, the Bango blade displays symmetry and sophistication. Elsen describes the function of this blade type as "luxury weapons for notables and chiefs." They were also used ceremonially, notably in initiation rites for young men (Gosseau, Tribal Arms Monographs Vol. 1 Nº2 , 1997).
While describing a different but closely-related blade, Blackmun summarizes this blade's purpose succinctly: "Despite the sharp cutting edges on the outside of the two arching blades, beautiful swords of this type were designed primarily as emblems of rank. They were carried by men of authority on public occassions. Like the Ngombe sacrificial swords, they are shaped and decorated for beauty and elegance, and enhanced with copper and brass" (Blades of Beauty and Death, 1990).
22.5 in :: 57 cm