Jump to content
Gentleman's Military Interest Club

Recommended Posts

Could anyone help me identify these spears? I am told that the upper spear in the first picture is a throwing spear. The blade is 12 inches long, and the end of the shaft has been balanced with a strip of metal wrapped around. The total length is 53 inches.

The second spear has a blade length of 9 inches. The haft is 3 inches. Total length is 47 inches. The haft is held in place with intricately bound brass and copper wire.

The third spear appears to match descriptions of the iklwa. But having little knowledge on the subject, I really do not know for sure. The blade is 10 X 1.5 inches and the haft is 6 inches. The total length is 45 inches. I remember reading somewhere a description of the iklwa, and it was stated the the spear was 'absolutely no longer than 40 inches.

The shield measures 24 X 14 inches. It does show some age, and I do not believe it to be a tourist piece. The original stick was missing. I replaced it with a very old cut-down walking stick.

Many thanks in anticipation,

Steve.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-87818500-1361533546.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-71862900-1361533568.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-43383500-1361533597.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-82800400-1361533637.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-43423100-1361533653.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-02417900-1361533714.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-00394400-1361533744.jpg

Edited by Harry the Mole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Harry - my apologies that your interesting post on spears has been overlooked.

I have good news and bad. Firstly the shield has quite a new and touristy look about-it. You can tell this from the raw hide look to the back

and also, that the hair is still on the front. This gets worn away with time.

It is making itself out to be an Umbumlulu - or, small fighting shield.

The other bad news is that the big spear on the top is probably not Zulu - but, rather from one of the other tribes in that area. Perhaps Swazi or,

Mocambiquan ? The head is not quite right for Zulu and they never bind the ends like this.

The good news is that the other two are Zulu Iklwas. The middle one appears to have brass and copper binding to hold the head to the shaft.

The bottom one is part of a tail from a cow - they pull it on like a condom and when dry it sets like iron.

The size of the head makes me think it is a stabbing spear, rather then an Isiphapha - or, throwing spear. The length of a spear is a personal

thing for the carrier to decide. I have seen quite long iklwas. Since these are old, they will have an appreciable value.

I hope this is of some help to you - where did you acquire them ? Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello Mervyn,

Many thanks for replying to my post. Collecting Zulu items is something rather new to me. The top spear in the original pictures came with the shield and a knobkerry.

I was told by the dealer that the metal on the end of the spear came from an 1880's period ammunition box. I pointed out to the seller that as far as I knew the wooden boxes were bound with copper strips. So then he suggested it must have come off the actual waggons the British Army used at that time. I din't buy the story, but I did like the items!

The shield isn't really as good as it looks in the pictures. There is some hair loss, and the back is much dirtier than the pictures suggest. All I know about it is that it turned up in a house clearance some years ago. Not that it means anything though. I certainly didn't think it was an old piece, but it does display rather well.

You probably know how it is with collecting. You take an interest in something, and suddenly they appear everywhere!

The lower two spears in the original pictures were purchased from a dealer here in England last week. I took a gamble and paid £270 for both. They were advertised as throwing spears, although when I got them I thought (hoped) that the shorter of the two might have been an 'iklwa.' It just seemed a bit short at 45 inches for it to be a throwing spear. But what do I know?

Last Saturday I was at a local flea market and spotted another spear amongst all the junk. I have posted some pictures of it along with the knobkerry I got with the Shield. The club has a length of 28 inches. The ball is 2.5 inches in diameter. The spear is overall 50.5 inches, and the blade is 13.5 inches including the 1 inch haft.

Any information you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I am not really concerned about values. Something is only worth what someone is prepared to pay! But I would be interested to know how old they might be.

Cheers,

Steve.

http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-00147200-1361912604.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_02_2013/post-15217-0-26210700-1361912617.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Steve - I hope you are going to continue collecting Zulu pieces ? They are some of the most sought after ethnic items

and always sell for good prices. Any iklwa of age is worth in the 150/200 pounds but, this can go up steeply if it is special.

Strangely, the UK often has more Zulu War period weapons available then we do in South Africa. The reason for this is that

the troops took them back as souvenirs. However, they had to fit in the kitbag, so, beware of bigger spears that have been

cut down. Nearly all Zulu spears have a knob at the end of the shaft - this is to help pull the spear out of a body when it has

blood smeared-on. One of the reasons that I could tell you that the metal end on the other spear was not Zulu.

Your two new pieces are very good examples and you have bought well. The spear is an iklwa - for a warrior who liked the longer

reach. The binding is the spine of an Ilala Palm. The had three methods - Ilala ; cow's tail and the brass and copper binding.

With this Iklwa it has been allowed to stand in a corner and over the years the wood has warped - quite common. The Zulus

always stashed their weaponry in the thatch of the huts and you could often find things left in deserted huts. That was in the

days when it was safe to get out of your car..............

Your knobkerrie - Zulu word being an Iwisa - is a good example of a fighting Iwisa. They use a smaller headed type as a dress

weapon in the Kraals (an Iqubanga) and also have dancing sticks for use in ceremonies. Knobkerries - along with old shields -

are some of the hardest pieces to find. They get used for other purposes and end up broken. This one has a nice patina and doesn't

look as if it has been damaged.

Again, I hope this helps you. When you see other pieces, try to get a photo and post on GMIC - we can advise and it may help

you avoid the fakes.

Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Steve

I personally like the knobkerrie, not sure if you know this but some were made from the root part of the Tree right were the ground starts (a natural ball forms in some trees), others of course where the branch comes out the tree.

An elderly African chap I worked with some years ago used to make them for a few spare bob. When we in the bush he was always looking for certain hard wood trees so he could harvest them for conversion into these "head-bangers". I always regret never buying one or two examples from him. Sadly in this collecting area a 50 year old item can look like a 140 year old example, a rather specialised field. Many of these items come from rural areas where they can easily weather and get the feel and smell of an old item.

Keep away from any that have coloured wire binding as these were made in the last +-40 years...plastic coloured wire is collected from telephone cables!

The metal binding at the rear of your throwing spear could well be a counter balance, allowing the spear to fly further and true!

Regards

Brian

Edited by brian conyngham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to you both for the comments. The spear with the weighted end is superbly ballanced. I think the only way of knowing the age of anything is by having concrete evidence about where it came from, and how it was originally obtained. I once owned a Mauser Mod 71 which had been dug up in an african desert in the 1920's. It had hung on the wall of a large house in Lymm - not far from where I live since it had been found. A gunsmith friend of mine gave it to me when he was retiring. And it had originally been given to him by the person who found it.

regards,

Steve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mervyn,

You seem to know your stuff so can I run this past you.

I found it in a skip so no worries if its junk, I thought tourist type thing?

I just couldn't leave it since it looked both old and pointy, a combination I can't resist.

Please excuse the dog hairs in the pictures the sky remote is for scale.

Cheers

Jock:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jock - interesting find and certainly not the usual thing in a skip.

The spear is a Throwing spear - known by the Zulus as an Isiphapha. From the poor details it appears to have wire binding.

The origins are in fact from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) - this would have been made by the Matabele - who were in fact related

to the Zulus. The condition would indicate that it has been picked-up from a battlefield - possibly the 1893 rebellion.

Value wise - about 150 pounds. What location was the skip located ? Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jock - interesting find and certainly not the usual thing in a skip.

The spear is a Throwing spear - known by the Zulus as an Isiphapha. From the poor details it appears to have wire binding.

The origins are in fact from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) - this would have been made by the Matabele - who were in fact related

to the Zulus. The condition would indicate that it has been picked-up from a battlefield - possibly the 1893 rebellion.

Value wise - about 150 pounds. What location was the skip located ? Mervyn

Mervyn,

Thanks for the ID,

The skip was by Gross Hehlen near Celle in Germany, that is why I thought it would be tourist stuff?

I can't drive by a house clearance skip without having a nosey in it.

Jock:)

Edited by Jock Auld

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mervyn,

Would you be interested in having it back home so to speak?

I am struggling to get anything to Ricks NOK in the form of cash.

I will cover any postage to SA if you make a fair contribution to Ricks fund if that is acceptable?

No worries if it is not for you, so absolutely no pressure.

If it is worth 150 quid by your reckoning how about £80 is that fair?

Jock:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Jock - I'm afraid that now I have closed the shop I wouldn't be interested. Try one of your local auctions - give them the full

history and it should do well to a collector. Alternatively, post it on the GMIC For Sale section. Mervyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mervyn,

Sorry I thought you were a collector, I doubt it would go well in any German auction, probably end up in a skip again! I don't have a paypal thing so how could I pay for any advert, is there a way round it since it would be for Ricks Fund?

Jock:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×