I am proud to present you my new website http://www.buyafricanantiques.com.This month article is written specially for you by the biggest African weapons collector and specialist in the world Dr.Peter Westerdijk.
Weapon collection maintenance
by Dr Peter Westerdijkseptember 6, 2004
When African blades are rusty, or worse, pitted and partly eaten by corrosion, it is always a sign of neglect. Africans in the old days were keen on keeping their weapons in good shape.
Photographs dating back to colonial times show warriors with arms in top condition, brightly shining as the result of regular cleaning.
When we find rusted surfaces, either superficial rust or deeper corrosion, we can clean them by applying waterproof sandpaper of various grains, ranging from fine for light rust to more heavy grains for serious corrosion.
Always use a lot of water to keep your paper clean.
A dripping tap gives you just the amount of running water you need for the job.
Never work your surface too bright; just clean is enough.
As for copper and brass weapons or wire of the same materials applied to handles and sheaths, touch them as little as possible to maintain an old appearance.
When cleaned, seal off the surface with an acid-free wax or a thin layer of weapon-oil and corrosion for your items will be a thing of the past.
Some African weapons examples. Click on the links to see more detailed images, the price and buy:
1) Ceremonial axe of the Teke, Kuyu and Mbochi.
Congo Brazzavile and Congo Kinshasa
This type of axe never served any military purpose. Its function lies in the ceremonial sphere, as they were carried by chiefs and judges as a symbol of power. It seems that blacksmiths of the Kukuya, who belong to the great Teke nation, produced most axes of this type. They also made them for export. Locally these axes were also copied in the same general region. This example dates back to the last quarter of the 19th century.high: 46 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/teke-weapon.htm
2) War knife of the Fang of Gabon
The most widely -used weapon of the Fang was the so called ‘fa’, a sword-like weapon that is carried in a wooden sheath covered with the skin of a monitor-lizard. This 19th century example still retains its original iron carrying loop and leather band. High: 64 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/fang-knife.htm
3) Throwing knife of the bird-head variety, Kota and related peoples of Gabon. This type of arm was not intended as a missile, but served instead as a symbol of power as well as a cult instrument in societies that were set on fighting witches and other antisocial evil doers. The blade is supposed to have the shape of a Calao-bird’s head. The wooden handle is partly wound with brass wire. This 19th century piece shows a rare variation: two eyes instead of one. high: 31 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/kota-bird-knife.htm
4) Ceremonial axe of the Sappo-Sappo of Congo
The Sappo-Sappo are a mixed population group which contains elements of the Tetela, Lulua and Songye.
This group was formed around 1880 and specialized in the production of top quality ironwork. The axe shown here is a typical example of the old style of Sappo workmanship and has 32 heads of sculptured iron (16 on each side) The wooden handle is copper-clad. Such axes were no weapons of war, but, tokens of wealth and authority only. high: 46cm large: 38 cm
5) Throwing knife of the Matakam of North-Cameroon
Too heavy to be effectively thrown, this type of arm was used solely as a hand weapon and as an item used for swagger, both by young man and adults. No man would leave his house at night without one to keep stray-dogs at bay. This sound example dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.
high: 56cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/matakam-knife.htm
6) Knife with ivory handle of the Mangbetu of N.E. Congo
A luxury version of the more common Mangbetu knife, this example has an ivory handle surmounted by a sculptured female head, showing the characteristic skull-elongation practiced by the Mangbetu of the 19th century.
high: 38 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/mangbetu-knife-ne.htm
7) Knife with ivory handle of the Mangbetu.
Smaller version of the type of number 6. Very fine iron blade and highly detailed sculptured head. This item dates back to the early years of the 20th century.
high: 35 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/mangbetu-ivory-knife-small.htm
8) Mandingo sword and sheath The Mandingo of Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Ivory Coast are well known for their leather-work. Their iron work skills are less well developed. Many blades including the one of this example are taken from European weapons such as sabers and cutlasses. Fine old piece of the turn of the century (1900) high: 60 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/mandingo-sword.htm
9) Songye copper bladed axe.
Axes such as the present one were used among the Songye of Congo as currency items, during the 19th century. They come in various shapes and sizes and usually have a chiseled-out head of a bearded male on both sides. High: 37.5 cm large: 21 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/songue-copper-axe.htm
10) Small knife of the Chokwe of Angola
These small knives were worn by men and used for skinning game, peeling fruit and the like. This means that this kind ofknife had no vital function, but solely a practical one. It is interesting to see how small the knife is in comparison to the sheath, which consistsof a wooden front and a leather back. The front is normally sculptured with geometric designs and embellished with brass nails.high: 23,5 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/chokwe-knife.htm
11) Adze of the Western Pende.Ceremonial piece used by dignitaries and sculptors as a sign of theirtrade. The hairdo shows influences of the neighboring Mbala, but the faceis classical PendeHigh: 38cm depth: 23 cm http://www.buyafricanantiques.com/western-pende-adze.htm
If you want to buy any of the above item(s) you should mail me or phone me. I accept Visa- Mastercard- American Express, or money transfers on my bank account. I just need your credit card number with expiration date and billing address (Leave your credit card number, expiration date , item description, and address at our : Secure posting). Items cheaper than 700 euros can also be paid with Paypal. You will have 15 days guarantee and free delivery worldwide.Let me know if you want to buy any of the above weapons to add to your collection.
David Norden, African art antiques and discussion group.
St Katelijnevest 27
B2000 Antwerpen Belgium
tel +32 3 2273540
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