Ngombe Ngulu Sword 1 (Congo)

Ngombe Ngulu Sword, Congo

Code:  AC4

This is a Ngulu sword made by the Ngombe tribe of the Congo, dating to about 1890.  The Ngombe traded these swords to many other tribes in the area, including Bangala and others. The blade is very elaborately forged, with typical scallops that identify it as a ngulu.  The back of the blade is shaped with large scallops, thickened at their terminals and decorated.  These assist the bearer to carry the blade on the shoulder, as the sword is heavy.

The name Ngala was used by early colonial authorities to describe an ethnic group that they imagined lived upriver from the capital.  The name Ngala figured prominently on early maps and is today considered one of the three main regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In that area, however, many tribes are to be found.

Warning - Explicit Violence

The sword was used in decapitation's as described in Tribal Arms Monographs.  The victim would be bound in a sitting position with the head held by a twig frame secure to a bent over sapling.  The head is severed with this sword and flung into the air by the sapling.  After the head was severed, the onlookers would dismember the body and consume it.  The source of the information is from the account of Glave, who traveled with Stanley and witnessed this in the 1890s.  He stated that the people executed were recently captured slaves were subsequently dismembered and a body parts sold for human consumption.

Illustration of Ritual slave execution, Ngombe, Congo

Read more about the Ngala / Ngulu Execution Sword.