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Bakongo Forged Iron Knife Leather Handle Currency Congo African Art

Product #: 129479
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Title Bakongo Forged Iron Knife Leather Handle Currency Congo African Art
Type of Object Knife
Country of Origin Democratic Republic of Congo
People Pende
Materials Iron, wood, copper and/or brass in handle (unknown metal content)
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 16 Inches
Width: 7.5 Inches
Depth: 1 Inch
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.

Additional Information:

Currency derived from the throwing knife also came in many shapes and sizes, but its distinctive feature is the complexity in the orientation and size of its blades. These flattened shapes, often very thin, posed technical challenges to the blacksmith that required considerable skill and craftsmanship. In addition, many of the throwing knives were elaborately decorated, some on the blades and others only on the handles. Throwing knives are reported to have been used for bridewealth. Other evidence suggests, however, that they were emblems of office or status, carried in dances or other ceremonial occasions, and not currency at all.

The Kongo people have lived along the Atlantic coast of Central Africa, in a region that by the 15th century was a centralized and well-organized Kingdom of Kongo, but is now a part of three countries. Their highest concentrations are found south of Pointe-Noire in the Republic of the Congo, southwest of Pool Malebo and west of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north of Luanda, Angola. They are the largest ethnic group in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and one of the major ethnic groups in the other two countries they are found in. In 1975, the Kongo population was reported as 4,040,000.