Showcasing the art and ritual of the African and African-diaspora religions

Ngbaka-speaking peoples throwing knife

Catalog Number: E006


37.0 x 34.5 x 1.5 cm


14.5 x 13.5 x 0.6 in


Country of Origin: Democratic Republic of Congo
Materials: Copper
Usage: N/A
Detailed Description of Significance:

The sharp curves and intimidating spikes of this throwing knife, used by the Ngbaka-speaking peoples of northern Central Africa, helped inspire fear in those who faced its wielder in battle. The blade could be polished to reflect the sunlight, and the weapon made a loud whooshing noise when thrown. Both characteristics helped it confuse and frighten the enemy. Nevertheless, so many examples exist today that the weapon undoubtedly had non-martial significance as well. For instance, the spots painted onto this knife undoubtedly have some meaning, now lost. Similar knives exist that are covered in Islamic script; such objects were never intended for use in battle.