Lead Moderator European Armoury
Join Date: Dec 2004
After all, a determined part of Northern Angola was indeed part of the Congo kingdom, having this later been split after controversial events.
It is known that, a number of these swords in their primitive form was found in a Kindoki (ritual) cemetery, in Lower Congo Mbanza Nsundi.
Swords were considered power symbols, both in representing status symbols and also metaphisical means, to be used during several rites, including executions; hence the name Mbele a Lulendo.
The 16th century European swords were gradually replaced by indigenous production. The Mbele a Lulendo in its more expressive form would be the one with one guard arm facing up and the other facing down, an attitude to represent an anthromorphic figure, so called niombo.
The arms (quillons) of the sword posted here were not made to such position, although it configures a serious approach to a Mbele a Lulendo. A doubt remains on whether the all four arms, inspired by Portuguese swords, have their ends incomplete because time wasted their discs and pitons, which some times occurred, or the native smith only cared to forge a 'suggestion' to those appendixes.
In a closer look, the date 1697 seems to be an actual one, this blade being genuine European ... German ? It might have been shortened, with its 58 cms. length. Its width is rather impressive: 35 mm. The short ricasso fullers also look good. There are two copper 'ferrule like' washers holding the tang to the guard, which could (could) be from the hilting period, which i make it around 1880, a period in which these native swords were latest put up.
Again i submit all the above to the approval of knowledged members.