Osele/Gabon, Africa

Iron, wood and cupper, 28 x 29 cm

The style of weapon of the Kota and Fang cultures in Gabon is referred to as the bird headed ceremonial knife because of its peculiar shape, which resembles the head or beak of a bird. The example seen here consists of an iron blade with a thin extension at the base and a short wooden handle covered in cupper wire. While the bird headed knife’s practicality as an effective weapon is doubtful because of its unusual shape, it was highly valued. In the past it was mythologized by the Kota or Fang people due to its striking resemblance to the head of the hornbill, a bird that is esteemed in African folklores for its intelligence and perseverance.

The object was used in ritual and ceremonial contexts such as rites that involved circumcision and a protective charm against anti social forces

Price:  €  375,=