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Re: Shi - Hutu sword Rwanda?

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  • mktrupp
    ... I like it, Im kinda partial to my Horstmann but looks like a nice sword michael
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 7, 2007
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      --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Marsh" <woolygums@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Comments?
      >
      > http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5451&highlight=african
      >
      I like it, Im kinda partial to my Horstmann but looks like a nice sword
      michael
    • Paul De Lucco
      Bill, This was a common sword/knife in eastern Congo. Most books identify it as Shi - it is not Hutu - but years ago I saw it everywhere in the Kivus and
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 7, 2007
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        Bill,
         
        This was a common sword/knife in eastern Congo.  Most books identify it as Shi - it is not Hutu - but years ago I saw it everywhere in the Kivus and north Katanga.  It was carried by cattle herders, slung down their backs.  I was told that an experienced wearer could kick the bottom of the sheath with his foot and catch the blade as it sprung out.  Never saw that done though.
         
        Your specimen is particularly fancy with all of the copper wrapping and the simple red-painted wood sheath.  It has been cleaned a bit but looks good to me. 
         
        The black "coating" on African knives results from hand forging.  The iron bar is heated in the charcoal fire that is worked with a bellows.  When the iron gets white hot, it is hammered by the blacksmith and shaped.  The forging process burns off impurities and turns the iron into steel - or so I have read.  Usually the edges are whetted to make a sharp cutting surface and these are bright iron (except when they rust as they do almost overnight) but the back-textured forge surface is left alone in the inside and on the low surfaces - probably as a protection against rust.     
         
        I have often seen tar used to fix a handle or keep one from rattling.
         
        Nice knife.
         
        - Paul
         
         
         
         
         
         
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 4:32 PM
        Subject: [African_Arts] Shi - Hutu sword Rwanda?

      • Lee Rubinstein
        Bill: I am happy to defer to Paul s knowledge and direct experience regarding this sword and will add a few relevant sources to support Paul s conclusion as
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 7, 2007
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          Bill:

          I am happy to defer to Paul's knowledge and direct experience regarding this sword and will add a few relevant sources to support Paul's conclusion as well as a few tangential recommendations. 

          The "Artifact of the Month" on the web-site of the National Museum of Rwanda just happens to be a sword (inkota).  However, the sword you presented does not appear to have any correspondence with historical examples of Rwandan implements presented by the Museum.  (See the metalwork and weaponry web presentation on the Museum's site).  Of course, if you visit the museum which I highly recommend, you may find additional examples and relevant resources.   You can stay just minutes down the road at Ku'i Taba, a beautiful hotel which was constructed last year by my friend and colleague Mme Symphrose MUKAMAZIMPAKA!  (Anyone visiting Rwanda, please let me know if you need referrals for lodging, transportation, interpreters, communities to visit, initiatives to support...)

          Back to the sword...  Below are some examples of Rwanda blades from the database of the Peabody Museum in Cambridge, MA.  Most visible examples shown there do not resemble the implement you query...

          ... but the closest comparative example -- possibly misidentified -- is this one which frankly seems to me more Congolese as well (Kuba perhaps?) -- 990-5-50/12273:


          Lee

        • Bill Marsh
          Thank you, Paul. You have some very good information. I will add this to my info about this sword. ... it as Shi - it is not Hutu - but years ago I saw it
          Message 4 of 5 , Nov 7, 2007
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            Thank you, Paul. You have some very good information. I will add this
            to my info about this sword.


            --- In African_Arts@yahoogroups.com, "Paul De Lucco" <pauldelucco@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Bill,
            >
            > This was a common sword/knife in eastern Congo. Most books identify
            it as Shi - it is not Hutu - but years ago I saw it everywhere in the
            Kivus and north Katanga. It was carried by cattle herders, slung down
            their backs. I was told that an experienced wearer could kick the
            bottom of the sheath with his foot and catch the blade as it sprung
            out. Never saw that done though.
            >
            > Your specimen is particularly fancy with all of the copper wrapping
            and the simple red-painted wood sheath. It has been cleaned a bit but
            looks good to me.
            >
            > The black "coating" on African knives results from hand forging.
            The iron bar is heated in the charcoal fire that is worked with a
            bellows. When the iron gets white hot, it is hammered by the
            blacksmith and shaped. The forging process burns off impurities and
            turns the iron into steel - or so I have read. Usually the edges are
            whetted to make a sharp cutting surface and these are bright iron
            (except when they rust as they do almost overnight) but the
            back-textured forge surface is left alone in the inside and on the low
            surfaces - probably as a protection against rust.
            >
            > I have often seen tar used to fix a handle or keep one from rattling.
            >
            > Nice knife.
            >
            > - Paul
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: Bill Marsh
            > To: African_Arts@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 4:32 PM
            > Subject: [African_Arts] Shi - Hutu sword Rwanda?
            >
            >
            > Comments?
            >
            > http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=5451&highlight=african
            >
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