Here we have a fine Zulu knobkierrie from the late 19th century with a globular head and cylindrical shaft. The item has been carved of a mellow tropical hardwood.
~ Dimensions ~
The knobkierrie is 31 inches (79cm) long. Of this length 27.5inches (70cm) is made up of the shaft. The diameter of the globular top is 3 inches (7.5cm). The club weighs 590g.
~ Condition ~
The club is in good condition. The globe has light surface scratching but no major areas of damage. There is a split in the wood on the head of the club but this appears to run with the grain as a natural defect in the wood rather than damage acquired from use. The shaft is in good condition with just a few small cosmetic scratches. The club has a nice smooth finish with a light varnish.
~ Knobkierrie’s ~
Knobkierrie’s are African clubs used mainly in Southern and Eastern Africa. Typically they have a large knob at one end and can be used for throwing at animals in hunting or for clubbing an enemy’s head. The knob is usually carved out of a treetrunk and the shaft is simply the branch that protruded from the tree at that point. The name derives from the Afrikaans word knop, meaning knot or ball and the word kierie, meaning cane or walking stick. The name has been extended to similar weapons used by the natives of Australia, the Pacific islands and other places. Knobkierries were an indispensable weapon of war, particularly among southern Nguni tribes such as the Zulu and the Xhosa.