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Hello everyone. I have been offered these two assegai iklwa for sale and also this shield can anyone on here tell me if they look genuine, the seller seems legit and is selling a number of other items that look good to me but I'm just not an expert in this stuff. Any help would be appreciated 

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Matti

Welcome to the GMIC!  Sadly, our true South African expert, Mervyn Mitton, passed away a few months ago.  He lived in SA for many years and ran a militaria/antique shop there.  However, I can say a couple of things, in a general way.

Zulu assegai and other African spears were made for a number of centuries as weapons and continued to be manufactured, up to the present, both as weapons and ceremonial objects and for sale to tourists and collectors.  And, of course, not being 'military' in the Western sense there are no convenient serial numbers or even standarization of manufacture to help.  So, it comes down to careful research and a lot of 'gut feeling' - best backed by experience.  Provenance is largely a thing of the past for most collectibles now, as so many have gone through the hands of one or more dealers rather than coming to us straight from those or the families of those who acquired them and even 100 years ago these were being made for 'the trade.'

That said, a couple of eneral comments.  The most taditional method of attaching the head and shaft was to shrink a rawhide cow's tail over the join.  So, a one piece leather tube.  I see yours have leather but it looks like a wrapping to me - can't quite tell from the photo.  Not bad news per se but probably means they're  not really old.

The shield is missing the stick which holds it rigid - as is almost always the case - but the loops of rawhide on the reverse are meant to hold that.  So, it looks 'real' in that sense.

They look to be decent quality but the wrappings prevent one seeing how the sockets were formed - forged or hammered over [open sided] tubes, which I believe is of significance as well. 

Here is the verty lengthy but also very helpful thread which Mervyn created over a period of time.  Many many examples of Zulu weaponry with expert commentary on same.  I hope it proves of more use than my few generalities.  Again, welcome to the Club!

Peter

 

 

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Thank you for your response, I noted that many of them where bound with cowhide or also copper wire and these appear to be some kind of strapping. I'm really in two minds about them as he is asking a bit much for me to take a chance on them without being certain. I shall have a look at the thread you have posted 

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Both assegais have the long shafts that characterise throwing weapons.  If the one with the large blade started out as an iklwa (stabbing spear) it would have had a much shorter shaft with a flared butt end.  

Brett

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Excellent point, Brett. I don't know whether the characterization as 'iklwa' was Matti's or the seller's but clearly it needs amendation to be quite accurate.

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