Heavily Incised Throwing Knife kpinga or kipinga
Zande / Avungara / Barambo, D.R. Congo / C.A. Republic
Iron, brass, vegetal fiber
Late 19th century
This type of throwing knife - one of the most immediately recognizable African forms - comes from the high savannas and dense forests that lie across the border of the Central African Republic and D.R. Congo. Utilized by the Zande, Avungara, Barambo, and other Zande-related groups, this type of throwing knife, known as kpinga, was a primary tool in the Zande's expansion and protection of their territory in the 18th and 19th centuries. In the 20th century, kpinga knives remained elite weapons carried by royal bodyguards and court attendants, and were often the prerogative of unmarried men. As symbols of ethnic pride and tribal authority, they were not used for hunting.
Highly embellished pieces such as this, which is elaborately incised from head to toe, were reserved for display as symbols of high prestige (Berardi, Standing on Ceremony, 2004; Felix, Kipinga, 1991).
18.75 in :: 48 cm