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Salampaso Short Sword

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  • The photo demonstrates how the sword is worn by the Salampaso people.
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Item 593
5.00 LBS
$14.00 (Fixed shipping cost)
Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)

Product Description

More than an object for defense and attack, this short sword is an item of regalia, denoting status and membership in the hierarchical warriors' society of the Salampasu peoples. The Salampasu consist of seven independent clans who live in the south-central portion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Short swords of this type were carried and brandished by masked dancers belonging to the warriors' society called mungongo, a governing institution that served to integrate young men into Salampasu society, to foster cooperation among communities when responding to outside threats and to monitor events and discourage violence at community gatherings such as public dances and funerals. Wealthy warriors traditionally controlled material resources including iron-ore sources and raw and worked metal (knives and swords fell into this category), and they exercised authority over the blacksmiths who fashioned implements out of worked metal. Sources indicate that in the early 1960s the Salampasu destroyed their masks and disbanded the mungongo in an effort to reinforce the authority of new chiefs who eschewed more traditional institutions and practices. However, recent research in 1989 documented that initiations and masked dances were still taking place.  ~ Smithsonian National Museum Of African Art

This Short Sword, with a iron blade ending in a sharp point, includes a carved wooden handle. The sheath is made of wood, covered with hide and further embellished with plaited and twined basketry designs. This is an older piece. The well worn sheath is fragile but the blade is sharp and firmly fixed into the hilt. There is no blade movement at all. This selection has been granted "collectible status"

Please click photo for enlargement!

Dimensions: The entire ensemble measures 22 inches long. The sword measures 21 7/8 inches long. The blade is 17 inches long x 2 1/4 inches wide.

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