NGOMBE NGULU SICKLE BLADES, DRC

The blades below have been vetted as authentic, but late 1970s style.


NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 11
27.5" high
$300

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 17
27" high
$300

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 18
26" high
$250

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 22
23" high
$250


NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 32
29" high
$300

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 48
31.5" high
$300

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 49
29" high
$300

NGOMBE
Sickle Blade 57
24.5" high
$300

Photographs © Hamill Gallery

NGOMBE, NGULU SICKLE BLADES, DRC

The Ngulu sickle blade (also called Ngolo, Ngwolo, M'Bolo, Gulu, Ntsaka, Bwakoya, or Mbeli na Banz) is often erroneously labeled an "executioner's knife" in the Western world. While many stories purport the use of these blades in executions of animals and humans, such stories seem to be more the work of the Westerners intent on depicting the savagery of primitive Africa (indeed, the zeitgeist of the early 20th century) rather than the whole truth. Manufactured by the Ngombe ("men of the forest"), the Ngulu is a heavily decorated asymmetrical iron blade with an embellished wooden handle that is exuberant and beautiful. Gosseau asserts these blades were insignias of prestige, ceremonial dance implements, and valuables used for exchange (currency).

Interestingly, Gosseau describes in detail the process by which these blades were incised: "engravings are made by chasing a pointed hammer with another hammer along the heated blade. On the edge side, a think line - actually a succession of short strokes engraved on the cold blade with a sharp metallic tool - runs along the whole length" (Gosseau, Tribal Arms Monographs, Vol. 1/No. 2, 1997).

-----Ethan Rider


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