Throwing Knife, kpinga
Nzakara, Central African Republic / D.R. Congo
Forged iron, rattan
While historically used as a weapon amongst the sophisticated armies of the Zande and Nzakara, this type of throwing knife, known as kpinga, became obsolete in the 20th century, and became more an object of symbolism than function. In particular, they were used in ceremonies honoring the ancestors, wielded during funerals of powerful men, and even thrown onto or buried in gravesites. Potent symbols of power, they were considered to be the prerogative of nobility, and were often hoarded and protected in storehouses; only select men had the privilege of keeping a kpinga in his home (Westerdijk, The African Throwing Knife, 1988).
This type, Westerdijk's SPVIII, Type 7, is the only one that wears a distinctly convex obverse and concave reverse on the wing, crown, and spur; an older style.
This piece is mounted on a custom display stand, pictured below.
20.25 in :: 51.5 cm