Oshele Prestige Blade or Currency
Nkutshu people, DR Congo
26.5 x 20 inches ( 67 x 51 cm)
The lethal beauty of the impressive, multi-bladed throwing knives of Central Africa reflect their origins as weapons of warfare and ritual sacrifice and their refashioning into emblems of power and wealth for high status men who wielded them in ceremony and display.
The striking, sculptural forms epitomized the artistry and skill of the blacksmith who was held in enormous esteem. The exquisite, asymmetric balance and proportions of this early Nkutshu prestige knife, as well as the faceted, curving, fluid lines, and sharply tapered points of the three blades, are testimony to the blacksmith’s art. The aged iron surface has a dark, worn patina, although the object is in excellent condition.
The Nkutshu are northern neighbors of the Kuba peoples, and these extremely valuable objects were traded as currencies and could reportedly be redeemed for the price of a man’s life.
Very good, no breaks or repairs, normal aging and patina of the iron
John Elliott Collection