Craftsman | 25946 | THE AR T of WEAPO NS - Hood Museum of Art

T H E A RT of W E A P ON S
HOOD MUSEUM OF ART,
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
his exhibition presents exemplary highlights
from the Hood Museum of Art’s rich collection of traditional arms and armaments from
Africa. It emphasizes the beauty of the weapons and
shines a critical light on their significance in the social,
political, economic, military, and spiritual organization
of traditional societies in Africa. The selected objects,
most of which were collected during the era of Western
colonization in Africa, are of impeccable craftsmanship and elegance and thus showcase the creativity and
technical skills of their makers. Displayed together for
the first time, they represent artistic traditions of nearly
forty cultural groups spread across the East, West,
Central, North, and Southern African sub-regions. The
Art of Weapons presents the history of these objects as
they have passed from hands of the craftsmen who created them to the warriors who deployed them to the
Western collectors who gathered and displayed them.
weap ons an d t h e i r ma k e r s
Characteristically of African material cultures through
the ages, many of these objects combine utilitarian and
symbolic functions. They feature intricate geometric
and linear patterns embellished on their surfaces, and
command attention with their spiral forms, multiple
thrusting edges, and beautifully carved anthropomorphic and zoomorphic handles. The weapons reveal the
widespread mastery of iron, brass, and copper, as well
as the use of wood, animal hides, and plant materials,
in weapons production in Africa. Beyond their formal
designations as knives, spears, or shields, the weapons
come in different sizes, forms, types, and aesthetic classifications. They served varying and sometimes overlapping functions in the past.
One of the weapons on display is a stately ikula (fig.
1), a prestige object borne on the right hip by free men
in traditional Kuba society. It has an elaborately carved
wooden handle with inlaid wire that is arranged as
geometric and linear decoration. This particular ikula’s
wide blade is made of metal; others in the exhibition
feature pure brass, copper, or iron blades. It has a slightly elevated central ridge bordered on both sides by flowing groves. The ridge runs from the base of the blade
and tapers to meet its blunted stabbing tip. Largely used
in a ceremonial context, the ikula was not meant for
warfare. Instead, it conveyed the high social rank of the
owner and was part of the paraphernalia of state.
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the art of weap ons
Fig. 1. Kuba people, Democratic Republic of Congo, ikula ceremonial
knife, 19th–20th century, metal and wood. Gift of Ernst Anspach;
180.27.25946
The mbele a lulendo (fig. 2) is another important
ceremonial object of significant social and political
value. Also known as a “sword of royal authority,” it
belongs to the Bakongo, or the Kongo people, in southwestern Democratic Republic of Congo and northwestern Angola. There are several variations of the mbele a
lulendo’s hilt. This prestige sword consists of a carved
anthropomorphic hilt with four curved iron quillons,
or crossguards. Two of these quillons have flattened
ends tilted downward on either side of the sword’s
blade. The other two are fully curved loops placed inside the former pair. Aside from its length, the sword’s
blade is indistinct with no incisions or designs, yet the
weapon is rich in symbolism. It embodies the spiritual
essence and political foundation of the Kongo people,
and was danced ceremonially on specific occasions.
Traditionally, it belonged to the chiefs of the various
Bakongo communities or was secured by designated
guardians with political authority. It was also used to
execute convicted criminals who ran afoul of the laws
of the community.
Several weapons in this exhibition, such as the
musele (fig. 3) of the Kota and Fang cultures in the
Upper Ogowe River region of Gabon, are classified according to their formal qualities. This style of weapon
is also referred to as the bird-headed ceremonial knife
because of its peculiar shape, which resembles the head
or beak of a bird. The example seen here consists of an
iron blade with a thin extension at the base and a short
wooden handle covered in copper wire. The blade has a
thin groove running through its breadth and outlining
its sparse features. While the bird-headed knife’s practicality as an effective weapon is doubtful because of its
unusual shape, it was highly valued. In the past it was
mythologized by the Kota and Fang peoples due to its
striking resemblance to the head of the hornbill, a bird
that is esteemed in African folklores for its intelligence
and perseverance. The object was used in ritual and ceremonial contexts, such as rites of passage that involved
circumcision, and as a protective charm against antisocial forces.
The Hood’s collection also includes variations of
curved and multiple-blade knives or swords, as well as
scythes and sickles. Many of these are from the Congo
Fig. 2. Kongo people, Democratic Republic of Congo, sword of royal
authority (mbele a lulendo), 19th century or earlier, iron, wood, ivory.
Purchased through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund;
997.20.30355
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blacksmith and/or social rank of the patron. It was used
during ritual ceremonies and parades as a symbol of
power and high status.
In pre-colonial times talented blacksmiths enjoyed
the patronage of neighboring cultures that valued their
skills and fame. Other craftsmen were itinerant. They
moved farther afield, secured new patrons, offered their
skills to other cultures, and created and distributed new
forms and styles. This was very much the case in equatorial Africa where there were cross-cultural appropriations among cultures such as the Fang, Kota, Azande,
Mangbetu, Kuba, Konda, Ngala, Teke, Ngombe, and
Fig. 3. Fang or Kota people, Gabon, bird-headed ceremonial knife
(musele), collected about 1892, iron, wood, copper wire. Gift of William
and Christine Bannerman in memory of Reverend and Mrs. William
S. Bannerman; 2013.75.1
Basin, an area renowned for its rich, diverse, and large
output of weapons. The throwing knife derives its
name from its use as a formidable combat and hunting weapon. It is widespread among several cultures in
sub-Saharan Africa but notably associated with Central
Africa, particularly the northern Democratic Republic
of Congo where it proliferated in great number. Among
the Azande and Nzakara, it was used exclusively as a
weapon of war. When hurled with a quick flick of the
wrist from a measured distance, its multiple blades
would cut low around the legs of an enemy or animal,
digging into bones and inflicting deadly pain. Highly
valued, the throwing knife was used as currency for
commerce and as a symbol of political office or social
status. This is, perhaps, as a result of its complex shape
and surface decoration, which tasked the imagination
and craftsmanship of the blacksmith—as is apparent in
the Bwaka or Gobu knife (fig. 4) seen here. Another object, the Konda ceremonial knife (fig. 5), is prized for its
unusual and intricately designed thin blade. The knife’s
shape varies according to the creative ingenuity of the
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the art of weap ons
Fig. 4. Bwaka or Gobu people, Democratic Republic of Congo,
throwing knife, 19th–20th century, iron. Gift of Claire E. and Dr.
Frederick R. Mebel, Class of 1935; 991.48.29011
Yakoma. This area of the continent has had some of the
richest deposits of easily accessible ore, which provided
the raw materials for the blacksmiths’ art. On a similar
note, the Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, and Ndebele in Southern
Africa share design repertoires apparent in decorated
stabbing assegais, knobkerries, and animal hide shields.
The tongue-as-blade anthropomorphic axe is another
example of a weapon with a wide geographical spread
across West and Central Africa. This stunning example
(fig. 6) belongs to the Tiv or Jukun people in the
middle-belt region of Nigeria. The weapon is an emblem
of high social rank and was owned by the leaders of the
community, diviners, and highly regarded warriors.
As the fount and transmitters of the knowledge of
metallurgy, blacksmiths have been the subject of rigorous examination in African studies. Because of their
understanding of the properties of air, fire, water, and
earth, the basic elements required in smelting and forging, they are considered the central figures in weapons
production—arbiters of taste and intermediaries between life and death. In traditional African cultures,
blacksmiths were also thought to possess metaphysical
abilities useful in circumcision, divination, healing,
and rainmaking. They inhabited a liminal context between the temporal and supernatural worlds. Although
they were admired and respected for their skills and
specialized knowledge, they often lived apart from the
community, at the outskirts, in the pre-colonial past.
Among the Babongo of the Cameroon grassfields and
the Fur in western Sudan, blacksmiths were considered
dangerous because of their control of elemental forces
and therefore had limited social and political mobility.
In other cultures, such as the Fon in Benin Republic
and Kpelle in Liberia and southern Guinea, they enjoyed elevated social status and belonged to the royal
lineage.
the warrior complex in
traditional african so cieties
Fig. 5. Konda people, Democratic Republic of Congo, ceremonial
knife, 19th–20th century, steel and wood. Gift of Edith Virginia Calista
Spinney Furlong (Mrs. Charles Wellington Furlong); 175.4.25593
African weapons are emblems of authority, social rank,
ritual commemorations, royalty, strength, identity, divine power, life, and death. They communicate social
codes that governed communities and apportioned
societal roles in the past. Male members of society were
expected to protect the community and ward off external aggression. A full-fledged man was a warrior in addition to his duties as father, husband, son, or brother.
He was expected to show fearlessness, endurance, and
above all martial success. According to the art historian
Herbert Cole, “[w]hereas female power derives from
the giving of life, male power derives from taking it.
Woman’s power is internal and hidden like her reproductive organs. Man’s is external and like the weapons
he carries forth from the village to realms of conflict or
danger.”1 The highest measure of military achievement
was the number of enemy heads a warrior collected in
his lifetime. Head-hunting was often mistaken for cannibalism in many European reports and writings, and
was the basis for several colonial punitive expeditions.
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Fig. 6. Tiv or Jukun people, Nigeria, ceremonial axe, 19th–20th century, brass and iron. Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R. Mebel, Class of 1935;
991.48.29009
Weapons served as extensions of social constructions of masculinity, warriorhood, and ideal male
beauty. In several cultures young men were schooled
in the ways of the warrior during rites of passage. They
partook in conventional and mock head-hunting,
and learned military tactics and how to use weapons.
Among the Maasai and Samburu in the Great Rift
Valley region of Kenya, initiation rites were grounds
for the ultimate test of masculinity and warriorhood.
The initiates were expected to show forbearance in the
face of pain and bodily discomfort during circumcision,
which transformed them into morans (warriors) and
full-fledged men. The rites of passage were organized
according to age-sets, which the men belonged to for
their lifetimes, a practice that continues today. The
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the art of weap ons
statuses of warriors progressed in a hierarchical grade
system that shifted every fifteen years, from junior
warriors to senior warriors, and ultimately from junior elders to senior elders who make decisions for the
community. Although political leadership and spiritual
authority were tied to militaristic prowess, as men aged
and became elders in the community, status was also
linked to proven success in other areas of life.
Social constructions of the warrior found other
outlets beyond rites of passage, battlefields, and hunting. Solemn ritual ceremonies, including funerals, and
other forms of social gatherings were contexts where
male members of the community valorized the strength
and beauty of their bodies in staged performances and
war parades. In these public displays, weapons and
body adornment were part of the warrior accouterment. For example, among the Samburu or Wodaabe,
a highly nomadic subgroup of the Fulani ethnic group
of West Africa, warriors plaited or packed their hair in
mud packs, painted their faces and bodies with red and
yellow ochre, and wore several pieces of jewelry as part
of their sartorial presence.
weste rn c ol l e ctor s
in t he l ate n i n et e e n t h
and t we n tiet h ce n t uri e s
African weapons have always fascinated Western
collectors. European presence in Africa dates to the
Portuguese exploration of African coasts, beginning in
1419, and the vestiges of several centuries of contact
are visible in African weapons. While some examples
aped European weapons that were brought to Africa
as diplomatic gifts and for trade, others were produced
in response to the emergence of a Western market for
African artifacts. For example, the Kongo mbele a lulendo, discussed above, was inspired by trade relations between the Portuguese and the Christian Kingdom of the
Kongo in the sixteenth century. Scholarship suggests
that its elaborate hilt drew from the style of Iberian
weapons in the period, while oral sources recorded in
the 1930s claimed that the style, although of an unusual
convention, is a commemoration of the ironwork tradition of the Bakongo.2
Western fascination with African weapons gathered
momentum in the late nineteenth century as a result of
colonialism and ethnography. Military officers, colonial
administrators, missionaries, explorers, and big-game
hunters were some of the early collectors. In addition to
individual vocations and aesthetic tastes, their collecting proclivities were arguably shaped by Enlightenment
notions of worldliness, imperial ambitions, scientific
interests, and the so-called civilizing mission. With its
focus on rationality, the Enlightenment discourse demystified religion and emphasized the human subject
through intellectual and artistic pursuits. Scientific expeditions were important in widening Western interests in
African material culture and art objects. Ethnographic
displays of weapons as trophies in private homes and
museums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries inferred a triumphalist narrative of conquest,
invincibility, and cultural appropriations, steeped in the
Enlightenment notion of the imperial Western male.
The objects in the present exhibition were produced
between about 1850 and the 1930s. They mirror much
of the history and represent many of the characters
involved in the early collection of African weapons.
In 1885, the Reverend Josiah Tyler (1823–1895), who
was the son of the Reverend Bennet Tyler (1783–1858),
Dartmouth’s fifth president (1822–1828), donated several Zulu weapons collected in Natal, South Africa,
where he was a missionary from 1849 to 1889. In
1939, the Dartmouth College Museum (later the Hood
Museum of Art) collected 350 objects through direct
purchase and as gifts from the Reading Museum in
England. The collection included several weapons from
East and Central Africa. This was followed in 1949 by
the Museum’s purchase of ethnographic materials from
the British colonial government of Sudan, which included several Shilluk and Nuer spears and shields. The
weapons were collected on behalf of the Dartmouth
College Museum by the British anthropologist Paul
Philip Howell, who was the District Commissioner of
the Zeraf and Central Nuer Districts in the Upper Nile
Province of colonial Sudan from 1941 to 1946. During
the course of the twentieth century, the Museum received significant gifts of African weapons from several
outstanding collectors and art patrons, among whom
were missionaries, former military officers, Peace Corps
volunteers, art dealers, and anthropologists. The objects
in the exhibition reflect their discerning eyes and excellent taste.
t he ex hibit ion
As a teaching museum, the Hood has chosen to present
a less familiar, albeit important, aspect of the broader
field of the classical canon in African art, moving beyond the masks and votive figures that viewers often
encounter in museums. The Art of Weapons provides an
opportunity to consider the significance of weapons as
purveyors of artistic traditions, sociocultural organization, and identity in traditional African societies. It also
allows for a comparative assessment of the meaning
of masculinity and warriorhood in both African and
Western contexts in the historical past, and in light of
our changing world. Objects in the exhibition are organized around two main categories: offensive and defensive weapons. The offensive weapons include swords,
spears (fig. 7), bows and arrows, knives, and throwing
sticks. The defensive weapons are shields and medicine
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bundles or containers used as protective amulets. While
individual object labels indicate the weapons’ intended
ceremonial and martial uses, the installation evokes late
nineteenth- and early twentieth-century ethnographic
trophy displays in Western museums and elite homes.
The intention is to draw attention to this legacy of display of African objects as well as the process of transforming the weapons from their original context of use
into aesthetic objects in a Western museum setting.
Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi
Curator of African Art
not e s
1. Herbert M. Cole, Icons: Ideal and Power in the Art of Africa
(Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989), 93.
2. Zdenka Volavkova and Wendy Thomas, Crown and Ritual:
Insignia of Ngoyo (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998),
35–36.
Cole, Herbert M. Icons: Ideal and Power in the Art of Africa.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.
Coombes, Annie E. Reinventing Africa: Museums, Material
Culture and Popular Imagination in Late Victorian and
Edwardian England. New Haven and London: Yale University
Press, 1994.
Felix, Marc Leo, Jan Elsen, and Craig Allen Subler. Beauty in the
Blade. Kansas City, Mo.: University of Missouri–Kansas City
Gallery of Art, 1998.
Hurst, Norman. Ngola: The Weapon as Authority, Identity, and
Ritual Object in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cambridge, Mass.: Hurst
Gallery, 1997.
Kasfir, Sidney Littlefield. African Art and the Colonial Encounter:
Inventing a Global Commodity. Bloomington: Indiana University
Press, 2007.
Meyer, Laure. Art and Craft in Africa: Everyday Life, Ritual,
Court Art. Paris: Éditions Pierre Terrail, 1995.
selec te d b ib l i o g r a ph y
Schildkrout, Enid, and Curtis A. Keim. The Scramble for Art
in Central Africa. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1998.
Bastide, Tristan Arbousse. Traditional Weapons of Africa
(Billhooks, Sickles and Scythes): A Regional Approach with
Technical, Morphological, and Aesthetic Classifications. Oxford:
Archaeopress, 2010.
Schmidt, A. M., and Peter Westerdijk. The Cutting Edge: West
Central African 19th Century Throwing Knives in the National
Museum of Ethnology, Leiden. Leiden: National Museum of
Ethnology; C. Zwartenkot, 2006.
Berardi, Marianne. Standing on Ceremony: Traditional African
Arms from the Donna L. and Robert H. Jackson Collection.
Cleveland: Western Reserve Historical Society, 2004.
Spring, Christopher. African Arms and Armor. Washington,
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993.
Blackmun, Barbara Winston, and Jacques Hautelet. Blades of
Beauty and Death: African Art Forged in Metal. San Diego:
Mesa College Art Gallery, 1990.
Volavkova, Zdenka, and Wendy Thomas. Crown and Ritual:
Insignia of Ngoyo. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
Fig. 7. Shilluk or Nuer people, South Sudan, iron-tipped spear, collected 1946–48, iron and wood. Museum purchase; 48.66.11063
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c he c k l ist
1. Zulu people, South Africa
Spear, collected before 1885
Steel, wood, rawhide, 90 x 3.3 cm
Gift of Rev. Josiah Tyler; 13.25.872
2. Zulu people, South Africa
Spear, not dated
Steel, wood, hide
Gift of the New Hampshire
Historical Society; 42.21.7930
3. Maasai (Masai) people, Eastern Africa
Masai child’s spear, not dated
Steel, wood, metal, 123 cm
Gift of Cynthia Saranec, Class of 1973W;
173.24.25481
4. Azande people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Spear, possibly late 19th century
Iron and wood, 127 x 3.2 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6957
5. Hadendowa people, Sudan
Spear, possibly late 19th century
Wood and iron, 166 x 2.2 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6977
6. Unknown people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Spear/harpoon, late 19th century
Iron, wood, organic fiber, 168.1 x 5.8 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6958
7. Hadendowa people, Sudan
Spear, possibly late 19th century
Iron and wood, 170 x 3.5 x 1.9 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6978
8. Shilluk people, South Sudan
Spear, collected 1946–48
Wood, iron, brass, 272 x 3.1 x 2.1 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11061
9. Shilluk or Nuer people, South Sudan
Iron-tipped spear, collected 1946–48
Iron and wood, 273.05 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11063
10. Shilluk or Nuer people, South Sudan
Spear, collected 1946–48
Wood and iron, 251 x 1.6 x 2.4 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11062
11. Maasai (Masai) people, Kenya and
Tanzania
Spear, about 1920
Wood and iron, 215.5 x 4.5 x 2.1 cm
Acquired by exchange from the
Cranbrook Institute of Science,
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; 53.30.12899
12. Unknown people, Sudan,
Eastern Africa
Iron spear with wood shaft, collected
1946–48
Iron and wood
Museum purchase; 48.66.11052
13. Nuer people, South Sudan
Ebony-tipped spear, collected 1946–48
Wood, hide, wire, 164.6 x 2.5 x 2 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11060
19. Zulu people, South Africa
Walking stick, late 19th–early
20th century
Wood, 90 cm
Gift of the New Hampshire Historical
Society; 42.21.7929
20. Shilluk people, South Sudan
Throwing club, collected 1946–48
Wood and copper wire, 73.7 x 12.3 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11029
21. Zulu people, South Africa
Throwing stick, possibly late 19th
or early 20th century
Wood and brass wire, 73 cm
Attributed to Rev. Josiah Tyler;
157.46.14271
14. Shilluk or Nuer people, South Sudan
Spear, collected 1946–48
Wood, metal, brass, 174 x 3.45 x 1.7 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11054
22. Fon people, Republic of Benin
Staff in form of a ritual axe, 20th century
Iron and wood, 44.5 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 991.48.29010
15. Azande people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Spear
Wood, brass, iron, 150 x 1.8 x 0.75 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6959
23. Tiv or Jukun people, Nigeria
Ceremonial axe, 19th–20th century
Brass and iron, 46 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 991.48.29009
16. Unknown people, possibly Zulu,
South Africa
Short thrusting spear, early 20th century
Wood, copper wire, iron blade,
114.5 x 3.7 x 1.7 cm
Gift of George P. Thomas III;
50.40.12433
24. Kuba people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Wood and copper, 33 cm
Gift of Paul S. Cantor, Class of 1960;
181.22.26295
17. Zulu people, South Africa
Spear, early 20th century
Iron, wood, brass, 91.5 x 2.2 cm
Gift of George P. Thomas III;
50.40.12432
18. Nuer people, South Sudan
Spear, collected 1946–48
Wood and bone
Museum purchase; 48.66.11058
25. Songe people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Ceremonial axe, insignia of rank,
19th–20th century
Wood, iron, copper, 38 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 991.48.29012
26. Kongo people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Sword of royal authority (mbele a
luendo), 19th century or earlier
Iron, wood, ivory, 77.1 x 16.3 x 3 cm
Purchased through the Hood Museum
of Art Acquisitions Fund; 997.20.30355
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27. Kongo people, Republic of
the Congo
Sword of authority (mbele a lulendo),
18th–19th century
Iron and ivory, 78 x 15 x 15 cm
Gift of Mary Katherine Burton Jones;
2005.84
28. Tetela or Kusu people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Knife/dagger, 19th–20th century
Iron and wood, 41 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6955
29. Konda people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Ceremonial knife, 19th–20th century
Steel and wood, 40.1 x 14.5 cm
Gift of Edith Virginia Calista Spinney
Furlong (Mrs. Charles Wellington
Furlong); 175.4.25593
30. Yakoma people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire,
37.3 x 9 x 3.9 cm
Gift of Ernst Anspach; 180.27.25944
31. Kuba people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Ikula ceremonial knife,
19th–20th century
Metal and wood, 38.6 x 11.2 cm
Gift of Ernst Anspach; 180.27.25946
32. Unknown people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron and wood, 55.6 x 8.8 cm
Gift of Ernst Anspach; 180.27.25947
33. Luba people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Knife/dagger and sheath, 20th century
Iron, wood, cane, brass tacks,
plastic rope, 46 x 12.3 x 3.9 cm
Gift of Glover Street Hastings III;
181.2.25995
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34. Ngala people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Knife, 20th century
Iron and wood, 38.1 x 9.5 x 4.5 cm
Gift of Dana G. Mead; 181.21.26285
35. Fang or Lele people, Gabon and
Democratic Republic of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire, 40.5 cm
Gift of Paul S. Cantor, Class of 1960;
181.22.26297
36. Konda people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Display knife, 19th–20th century
Iron and wood, 52.8 x 7.8 x 3.1 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 992.38.29079
37. Oromo people, Ethiopia
Crescent knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, animal hide, 56.6 x 5.08 cm
Acquired by exchange from Hans
Oppersdorff, The Clark School,
Hanover, New Hampshire; 51.5.12631
38. Unknown people, Sudan
Ornate prestige knife,
19th–20th century
Iron, 37.6 x 14.6 x 0.4 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 992.38.29080
39. Baganda people, Uganda
Royal “sword,” 19th–early 20th century
Wood, yellow copper, brass wire,
64.8 x 7 x 3 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6889
40. Teke or Ngala people,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Executioner’s sword, 19th century
Metal and brass wire,
49.2 x 7.62 x 14.9 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6954
41. Ngala people, Central Congo,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Executioner’s sword,
19th–early 20th century
Iron, metal, brass tacks, wood, 66 cm
Gift of Robert L. Ripley, Class of 1939H;
40.15.12622
42. Konda people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Knife, early 20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire,
45.3 x 16.8 x 6 cm
Gift of Dana G. Mead; 181.21.26281
43. Mangbetu people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Knife (trumgash), 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire, reptile skin,
50 cm
Gift of Robert L. Ripley, Class of 1939H;
40.15.12620
44. Bwaka or Gobu people,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Throwing knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, 40.7 x 34 cm
Gift of Claire E. and Dr. Frederick R.
Mebel, Class of 1935; 991.48.29011
45. Nzakara, Azande, Yakoma, or Bangi
people, Democratic Republic of Congo
Knife/machete, 19th–early 20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire, 74 x 9.4 cm
Gift of Robert L. Ripley, Class of 1939H;
40.15.12624
46. Ngbandi, Azande, or Bangi people,
Democratic Republic of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, leather, 92 x 11.3 x 3 cm
Gift of Robert L. Ripley, Class of 1939H;
40.15.12626
47. Azande people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, aluminum wire,
89.6 x 5.7 x 4 cm
Gift of Dana G. Mead; 181.21.26277
48. Bangi people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Knife, 19th–20th century
Iron, wood, copper wire, 96.4 cm
Gift of Paul S. Cantor, Class of 1960;
181.22.26300
49. Malinke people, West Africa
Ceremonial hammer, 19th–20th century
Wood and iron, 64.135 cm
Harry A. Franklin Family Collection;
996.25.30240
56. Unknown people, Ghana
Quiver and arrows, 19th–20th century
Leather, iron, raffia fiber, 60 x 5.08 cm
Gift of Mrs. Victor M. Cutter,
Class of 1903W; 38.25.6031
64. Nuer people, South Sudan
Hippopotamus leather shield, possibly
19th century, collected 1946–48
Hide and wood, 141 x 47.4 x 1.9 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11043
50. Songe people, Democratic Republic
of Congo
Axe with anthropomorphic face on both
sides, 19th–20th century
Snakeskin, wood, copper, 33.02 cm
Lent by Valerie Franklin;
EL.996.25.30323
57. Unknown people, Ghana
Quiver and arrows, 19th–20th century
Leather, iron, raffia fiber, 55 x 4.6 cm
Gift of Mrs. Victor M. Cutter, Class of
1903W; 38.25.6032
65. Shilluk people, South Sudan
Leather shield, possibly 19th century,
collected 1946–48
Hide and wood, 126 x 44 x 2.4 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11044
58. Arab, North Africa
Dagger and sheath, possibly late 19th
century, collected about 1900
Wood and brass, 62.5 x 40 x 3.1 cm
Gift of Emmet Hay Naylor, Class of
1909; 32.2.5117
66. Zulu people, South Africa
Hunting shield, collected before 1885
Hide and wood, 70.1 cm
Gift of Rev. Josiah Tyler; 13.25.842
51. Unknown people, Western Africa
Adze with zoomorphic shaft,
19th–20th century
Bronze and metal, 46.99 cm
Lent by Valerie Franklin;
EL.996.25.30324
52. Fang or Kota people, Gabon
Bird-headed ceremonial knife (musele),
collected about 1892
Iron, wood, copper wire, 7 cm
Gift of William and Christine
Bannerman in memory of Reverend and
Mrs. William S. Bannerman; 2013.75.1
53. Fang people, Gabon
Knife with intricate copper-wire handle,
collected about 1892
Iron, copper, wood, 49 cm
Gift of William and Christine
Bannerman in memory of Reverend and
Mrs. William S. Bannerman; 2013.75.3
54. Fang people, Gabon
White rhinoceros-skin whip,
collected about 1892
Rhinoceros skin, 90 x 3.4 x 3 cm
Gift of William and Christine
Bannerman in memory of Reverend and
Mrs. William S. Bannerman; 2013.75.9
55. Fang people, Gabon
Thick rhinoceros-skin whip,
collected about 1892
Rhinoceros skin, 82 x 3.6 x 2.6 cm
Gift of William and Christine
Bannerman in memory of Reverend and
Mrs. William S. Bannerman; 2013.75.10
59. Shilluk or Nuer people, South Sudan
Iron spear with wood shaft,
collected 1946–48
Iron and wood, 41.6 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11051
60. Shilluk people, South Sudan
Iron spear (no shaft), collected 1946–48
Iron, 34.29 cm
Museum purchase; 48.66.11055
61. Unknown people, South Africa
Dagger, collected about 1910
Ivory, horn, blade, leather,
32.9 x 3.8 x 1.8 cm
Gift of Marion Walker Neidlinger, Class
of 1923W; 51.16.12680
62. Oromo people, Ethiopia
Hippopotamus leather shield, possibly
late 19th century, collected 1964–65
Hide, 30.48 x 58.4 cm
Gift of Joel Whiting; 165.33.15647
63. Ngombe people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Shield, late 19th century
Organic fiber, wood, paint,
127.5 x 43.7 cm
Museum purchase; 39.64.6960
67. Zulu people, South Africa
Shield, 19th–20th century
Hide, 52 cm
Gift of the New Hampshire Historical
Society; 42.21.7928
68. Unknown people, Democratic
Republic of Congo
Medicine bundle, early 20th century
Leather, claws, glass beads, shell, bell,
17 x 8 x 6 cm
Gift of Robert L. Ripley, Class of 1939H;
40.15.12616
69. Makonde people, Tanzania or
Mozambique
Medicine container, late 19th or
early 20th century
Gourds, wood, goatskin, cloth, fiber,
copper wire, unknown organic materials,
29 x 26 x 15 cm
Purchased through the Alvin and Mary
Bert Gutman 1940 Acquisition Fund;
2005.70.1
70. Zaramo people, Tanzania
Medicine container, late 19th
or early 20th century
Gourd, wood, seeds, glass beads,
fiber, copper wire, unknown organic
materials, 19.5 x 7 x 6 cm
Purchased through the Alvin and Mary
Bert Gutman 1940 Acquisition Fund;
2005.70.2
the a rt of w ea p on s
X
11
T H E A RT
of W E A P ON S
Selections from the
African Collection
This exhibition was organized by the
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College,
and generously supported by the
William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund.
Copyedited by Kristin Swan
Designed by Christina Nadeau
Photography by Jeff Nintzel
Printed by Puritan Capital
© 2014 Trustees of Dartmouth College
HOOD
MUSEUM
OF ART
hoodmuseum.
dartmouth.edu
Maasai (Masai) people, Kenya and Tanzania, spear, about 1920,
wood and iron. Acquired by exchange from the
Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; 53.30.12899
Front cover: Ngombe people, Democratic Republic of Congo,
shield, late 19th century, organic fiber, wood, paint.
Museum purchase; 39.64.6960
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