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Another in the series of early Zulu weapons and ornaments. This is an arm band - worn around the muscle on the upper arm. There would be one on each arm and - if he could afford it - larger ones on each ankle. They are made of brass and are heavy - about 1lb. (450gms). The date for this would be approx. the middle half of the 19th. C. - say 1879 period and the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879. The Zulus are skilled metal workers and had their own Guild system (or, caste) to work on spears etc.. King Shaka became King in 1816 and introduced silver and goldsmiths from Zimbabwe to work on the precious metals which were plentiful in Natal (I'm still looking !!). However, his chief 'witch' - a small woman - told him it would be bad luck, so they were all killed. Cast and wrought iron continued and their spears are sought after from around the World - in my view some of the best designed. H.Rider Haggard wrote many books using the Zulus as his guide and the old film - was it Alan Quartermain (?) showed Shaka in the guise of 'Umbopa' and his chief witch - called Gargol.



******NEW PICTURE BELOW******

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Cool!

Perhaps it was at Isanduwana...(sp?)

Were these merely decoration, or were they badges of rank/status and /or perhaps even a form of medal?

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Hi - I was just going to switch off, and do something useful, like a nap ! We're one hour ahead of UK. To answer your question - the correct modern spelling is Isandlawana - always used to have an 'h' Isandhlawana, and the Zulus pronounce 'hl' as shhh - so, the old way was iSanshlawana - small i means 'from' or, m means 'place of'. Umhalanga - where I live - means Place of the Reeds, but plans are to modernise this and make it mHlanga. Just costs a fortune in new letterheads!

The arm bands were really just a warriors adornments - although the exact positioning could also indicate his Regt. or, Impi also, just under these could be a band with hanging goats hair - again, these were often colour coded. They didn't have medals as such - their highest award was the arm band I posted some time ago. There was also a special necklace - I think it was Iziqu, which was awarded for great bravery. These are made from thorn trees and are rare.

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