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This Zulu club or knobkierrie is of dark hardwood, with a large, solid spherical head and with the handle embellished with four segments of finely plaited two- coloured wire. It is particularly heavy in the hand and as such this example clearly was designed as a weapon than to serve decorative purposes. Traditionally, a Zulu man always carried a knobkierrie.
This example has an excellent old, dark shiny patina. It was sourced from with in the UK and almost certainly has been in the UK since colonial times.
Clubs such as these were used for throwing at animals in hunting or for clubbing an enemy’s head in war.
The name derives from the Afrikaans word ‘knop’, meaning ball or knot and the word ‘kierrie’, meaning cane or walking stick.
Not only Zulu people used knobkierries as weapons of battle but also the Nguni and Xhosa people.
A knobkierrie with wire work showing a similar pattern is illustrated in Phillips (2004, p.210).
Note: This item is accompanied by a custom-made stand.
Phillips, T. (ed.), Africa: The Art of a Continent, Prestel, 2004.