Become our sponsor and display your banner here
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 32

Zulu weapons

Article about: I wasn't really sure where to put this post. But as one of the items is bladed, and they are all weapons for fighting at close quarters, I thought they might fit in here. The spear is a bit

  1. #11

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Thanks Ned, I noticed you looking at this thread earlier and if anyone would have an answer I expected it would be you, thanks for answering an unanswered question as I have had it for many years.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

  2. #12

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    At one time-a long long time ago when things were still available for less than the price of a car, I collected Zulu War era relics. My Iklwa came from a Victorian era British collection years ago that was one of the famous rolled up and buried spears excavated from Rorke's Drift. Many of the canvas rolled spears had deliberately broken shafts, but mine was fortunate enough to be still intact. It's hand forged blade measured 14 inches and was, by no means, the shortest of the group I examined. The blade had a wider-almost long leaf shape to it and was set in the shaft on a tang driven into the wood and wrapped in leather bindings. The "handle" of the shaft should, in many cases but not always, be a bit wider, so as to afford a better balance and grip to maneuver with. As Ned said, this spear does not appear to be typical period Zulu, as the wire wrapped butt end of it was designed to be stuck into the ground when not being carried. It looks to definitely be a fighting spear, but from what exact tribe and date it's impossible to say. I would estimate it at early 20th century, though.

    The shield,too, is quite likely of the same era as the spear. A shot of the rear side of it would help, as we are unable to see the weaving of the stripes and the grip, along with the pole attachment rings. These poles are almost always missing, as the shields themselves were kept in cattle dung piles-which was okey for the Leather, but white ants generally ate most wood they could get their jaws onto. The colors of the shields, by the way, was one way the Zulu had of identifying their various Impi regiments from each other. The shield that I had, was a bring-back from Kambula and came with a long throwing spear with a frighteningly narrow but deadly still sharp as a razor blade. My shield was tan with white stripes. It was huge, and had visible signs of impacts and battle to it, but this one is pristine. So, while definitely not "tourist junk", I'd say that this grouping is quite likely of the 1st part of the 20th century. You can see, for example, that the knobkerry was not carried extensively or used, just by the appearance and finish of the wood.

    Zulu weapons are extremely tough to evaluate, as they were all hand made and each one was pretty much unique. Items such as knobkerrys were in use for decades before and are Still made and used as the ones from 150 years ago were. I never Did pick up a knobkerry, as, frankly, unless it was provenanced, it is impossible to age them, and for the prices they were bringing even back then, I wasn't about to pay out good money for a semi-modern piece never used in battle. The steel of the Iklwa's were all hand-forged and were supposedly "blessed" by witch doctors to empower them with luck and strength in battle. One old anecdote-which I've never had reason to doubt-related how the witch doctor would spy about for the Blackest skinned tribesman he could find and would kill and skin them and dribble their blood and melted fat onto the fired and heated blade to "set the steel" especially fine.
    Many other tribes did, in fact though, use very similar spears and clubs and telling them apart without a bulletproof provenance is extremely difficult. The Masai, for example,carried spears that were very close in design to the Zulu spears. But, in any case, your set while not likely to have been from the War period are Still quite nice items and have an accompanying decent value as well.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  3. #13

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Quote by Jerry B View Post
    Thanks Ned, I noticed you looking at this thread earlier and if anyone would have an answer I expected it would be you, thanks for answering an unanswered question as I have had it for many years.
    Truth be known, big Ned is really Big 'N.E.D.' ( Neural Eclectic Database ) - that knows EVERYTHING about everything!!! - now the secret is out!

    ? who's that at the door? ............. what, Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    " When you're chewing on life's gristle, don't grumble, give a whistle "

  4. #14

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Quote by Danmark View Post
    Truth be known, big Ned is really Big 'N.E.D.' ( Neural Eclectic Database ) - that knows EVERYTHING about everything!!! - now the secret is out!

    ? who's that at the door? ............. what, Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You're too kind Skinny,

    Actually the truth is the 'R' fell out from between the 'E' and 'D' years ago and I never got round to......*cough*
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  5. #15

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Thanks to all for the information. I know little of this stuff, and I had to completely rely on the honesty of the dealers from whom I purchased this stuff - not always very wise I know! I have read what I could in the short time I had before I purchased the items, and I have also looked up on line. The spear does seem to match the construction methods used by the Zulu's. The haft is inside the shaft, and it is held in place by a length of cows tail.

    The shaft has several cracks in its length. and the whole piece gives the impression of some age. The shield matches the description and dimensions of the 'ihawu' which was carried for personal protection. I do not claim that it is a period piece, but the rear does show a certain amount of age. The photo of the front and back actually makes it look better than it is. There are small area's of hair loss. The stick was missing, and has been replaced with an old cut-down walking stick.

    I had two more spears arrive today. I have no idea how old they are. The smallest of the two does seem in some respects to comform to the iklwa. Again the haft is sunk in to the shaft, and is held in place with a piece of cows tail. It has the flair at the but end of the shaft as well. It is 45 inches in length. The second spear is just a few inches longer. The haft is held in place with intricately woven brass and copper wire. I believe this was a practice started when the Zulu's started trading with the Portugese. Neither of these two appear to have the same aged look as the first. All are pictured together. Neither of these spears have the darkened wood of the first.

    Ned, any opinions you can give me on this stuff are greatly appreciated. Again though I would say that I don't think they are tourist items. The shield came from a large house in this area which was being cleared out after the elderly owner passed away..Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4493.jpg 
Views:	450 
Size:	176.1 KB 
ID:	471545Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4494.jpg 
Views:	1097 
Size:	308.6 KB 
ID:	471546Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4498.jpg 
Views:	1362 
Size:	154.5 KB 
ID:	471547Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4500.jpg 
Views:	294 
Size:	156.5 KB 
ID:	471548Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4501.jpg 
Views:	1641 
Size:	198.9 KB 
ID:	471549Click image for larger version. 

Name:	DSCF4507.jpg 
Views:	964 
Size:	334.6 KB 
ID:	471550
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  6. #16

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Hi Steve,

    Again, I wouldn't like to speculate on the age of these, provenance is all you can really go on as you have with the shield. I'm not sure that the spear bound with cows tail is Zulu, but it is definitely one of the S.A. tribes, perhaps Nguni. The other one with the brass/copper wire binding is a very nice piece that has quality that you would associate with a genuine tribal spear.

    As far as the appearance of the metal (it's actually iron) goes being fairly shiny, this can vary significantly. Zulu iron was often re used many times over the years, and the process of re forging it introduced more carbon from charcoal everytime. This improved the ductility of the metal and it's ability to hold a good sharp edge. The other thing is it makes the iron shinier, more like steel, and is also a good sign.

    I like what you have here regarding the spears, whatever tribe or period I think that on balance they are genuine pieces made for purpose, and not tourist items.

    Regards, Ned.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  7. #17

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    I'll stick with my earlier comments. The reverse side of the shield has some significant differences from the battle shield that I had-particularly the pole attachment loops, the grip and the weaving of the stripes. It's age is almost certainly a 20th century manufacture.
    As for the additional spears-while they are,as Ned notes, definitely non-tourist made, they do not resemble Zulu period manufacture either, but are likely of the "area" and undoubtedly are from one of the regional tribes. They are also quite likely of the 20th century era. Period Zulu spears had heads that were flush mounted down to the wood shaft and the presence of the long steel "necks" is not a Zulu characteristic.
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

  8. #18

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Now this is where things get difficult for me! As I have already said, the knowledge I have on these artefacts is only what I have managed to glean over the past couple of weeks. I have taken on board all the comments given on these items about lengths of the hafts and so-on. I have looked at collections in South Africa on line in respected museums. And the spears in the Zulu Wars section match the items I have. Some blades are flush-mounted, and other's have varying lengths of hafts. I do not think for one minute that any of the spears I have are 19th century though!

    I am not trying to contradict anyone over these matters. But when I see pictures of Zulu spears in museums in SA it makes it very difficult for me to decide which advice to take on board. The spears of the Nguni tribe appear to have different shaped butts to the shaft. They do not have the flaired finish of the Zulu type. None of these spears have shafts driven into sockets, they are all mounted in the traditional Zulu fashion. The only one I did have doubts about was the first one with the iron wrapped around the butt.

    Perhaps a few pictures of spears and shields owned by other members would supply me with more information on what else I should be looking for?
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  9. #19

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Hi Steve,

    Personally I have no real problem with varying length of hafts and agree that they could well be Zulu, but at the same time another of the southern tribes is not impossible. As far as the flared shafts go, I also agree, a Zulu trait, but who is to say that a Nguni spearhead has not been fitted with a short, flared Zulu shaft, for whatever reasons, imo you can't be 100% sure....

    I personally own no tribal weapons or other pieces from Africa, although my father did. I spent most of my childhood until I was 10 years old living mainly in Namibia (Formerly German West Africa) because Dad worked on the design, construction and maintenance of massive conveyors in the copper, diamond and cement industries there, and he would pick up various tribal pieces on his travels around the southern African countries.

    I think you have some very nice items, but when it comes down to being 100% sure of anything of this nature, I would not proclaim to be an expert, and I must demur i'm afraid!

    Ngiyabonga, Ned.
    Last edited by big ned; 02-23-2013 at 07:32 PM.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

  10. #20

    Default Re: Zulu weapons

    Hi Ned, and thanks again. Its always the same isn't it? You take an interest in something, and next thing you know the bloody things are appearing all over the place! I was at Earlestown market yesterday. It isn't far from where I live in Warrington. On a Saturday the market is mainly house-clearance stuff and other junk. I have found many a good item of militaria at rediculously cheap prices from time-to-time. And yesterday was no exception. Tucked away on a junk stall was yet another spear. The blade was rather rusty, and held in place with a reed-woven pattern. The haft is barely an inch in length. The shaft has a lovely patina to it and age-related cracks. The butt having the characteristic swelling to stop the bloodied hand slipping off. I think its time I moved on to some other form of weaponry for now!

    Cheers,
    Steve.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Czech Weapons in WW2

    In World Firearms
    09-22-2011, 01:27 PM
  2. Libyan weapons

    In World Firearms
    04-27-2011, 08:41 PM
  3. UK Law regarding relic weapons

    In World Firearms
    02-16-2009, 08:55 PM
  4. replica weapons

    In Living History
    09-14-2008, 08:40 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •