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Old 15th May 2020, 05:03 PM   #1
francantolin
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Default 6 africans Dahomey? ritual swords

Hello everybody,

I'd like to share with you these six ritual swords ,

I like the blades decorations mixed with the european guard shape influence,
they are not weapons but only ritual ceremonials

I read some were used as voodun altar or were made as a tribute of Dahomey kings ( If it's the correct origin )

We have two pieces with a man striked down by a lion
( once with a rifle gun )

two similar items but with a monkey instead the lion ( idem one with long gun )

One with a snake ? ( older I think )

One with a crocodile ? and a nice carved hilt ( older too ?...)

Don't really know if they are old pieces.

Maybe End of 19th century -first half of the 20th ?

What do you think ?

Does someone have informations about the symbolic of each animal ?

Kind regards
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Old 15th May 2020, 05:05 PM   #2
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The ''snake''
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Old 15th May 2020, 05:12 PM   #3
francantolin
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The ''crocodile''

Rituals weapons, but the basis of the blade is thick and well made ,
the edge really thinner
not just a decorated sheet of metal
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Old 15th May 2020, 06:45 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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These are most definitely examples of 'hwi' ceremonial swords from Dahomey (now Benin) and carried during various rituals and ceremonies in the tribal situations there, as observed by Burton in his visits there in 1863 ("Book of the Sword" 1885). We have discussed these extensively here over many years, and I typically retrieve these entries by using key words like 'Dahomey' or 'Palau Marti' in the SEARCH function found in the top banner.

Palau Marti, "Sabres Decores du Dahomey" (1967) was a key reference to these in "African Arms & Armor" Christopher Spring.

As usual, arms references seldom, if ever, address the metaphysical or spiritual representations seen in the elements of the weapons. These kinds of details are typically found by further research in references concerning the Vodun religions of West Africa. In these ancestor worship is often a key element and the 'python' was in many cases regarded as a tribal ancestor, for lack of more accurate description.

Much of the animism and totemic value is part of the themes seen in these artistically created blades.
The European style hilts and sound character of these to me suggests 19th c during French presence.
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Old 15th May 2020, 09:02 PM   #5
Luc LEFEBVRE
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If you want to learn more, try to get these 2 books from "Le petit musée de la récade" Cotonou. BENIN.
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Old 16th May 2020, 09:38 AM   #6
francantolin
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Hello Jim, Hello Luc,

Thanks a lot for your comments !

The books seems really interesting,
I heard they made a really nice museum in Cotonou, Benin and collected back a lot of their treasures lost during colonial presence .

I saw the expo of the Dahomey kings in Paris at the Quai Branly museum
years ago, with Glélé, the lion king, The shark king ... really fascinating !

Now they send them back to Benin, normal I think...

Kind Regards
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Old 16th May 2020, 03:10 PM   #7
Tim Simmons
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How fabulous to have all six of these. They will make a great display full of mystery and intrigue.
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Old 17th May 2020, 07:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Simmons
How fabulous to have all six of these. They will make a great display full of mystery and intrigue.


Thank you !!
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