Konda Prestige Knife (Congo)

Konda prestige knife from Belgian Congo

Code AC12

A prestige "cult" knife from the Konda tribe, Belgian Congo, with an unusual blade. The blade has a diamond shape cross-section. The total length is approximately 41 cm.  The hilt is wood with wire wrapping to secure the blade. It has previously been cleaned thoroughly making it difficult to assign a date, although early to mid 20th century is probably not far wrong.

Konda Knife and Scabbard Ekonda warrior lake Tumba 1957

The blades of the Konda knives are unusual because the metal is thin and their elaborate design would not make them especially useful as a weapon (although I assure you, this one is sharp and can cut!) This type of knife was not intended as a weapon.  Instead, it is a symbol of hierarchical status.  The shapes of such blades may vary widely depending on the skill of the blacksmith, the ethnicity, and the specific person for whom the knife is made. These knives are used as displays of status and power in rituals, ceremonies, parades, and other important village events of various tribes including the Konda, one of many tribes that are part of the Mongo ethinic group living in the equatorial forest of the Democratic Republici of Congo.

Blade detail, Konda prestige knifeHilt detail, Konda prestige knife