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Old 7th January 2014, 12:12 PM   #1
Martin Lubojacky
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Default Saka (?), Kusu (?) knife for pleasure and maybe comments

I bought it on eBay last year and I post it just for pleasure here now. The dimensions are: length 48 cms, max. width 14 cms. It was discussed by forumites before - I think it is Saka or Kusu (?)
I like curvature of the blade - without any mistake for me.
But still - maybe a few questions: I did not clean it yet - I always hasitate (as far as African armas are concerned), if to clean the iron fully (BTW as we can see it in most of museums), or to leave it "black" and to smooth it out only.
Was it really "only" ceremonial weapon ? (the blade is sharp, made of hard and springy steel (clangs nicely)
How old could it be ?
Some time ago I heard that this daggers were copied for tourists and collectors very often. Is this one such copy or real item made for "tribal use"? (patina on handle is very nice, but this is not difficult to imitate).
Regards
Martin
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Old 7th January 2014, 05:24 PM   #2
Congoblades
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Saka/Ngandu. I have no knowledge of copys of these knives. Even in Belgium you find them rarely. I would clean it but that's personal.
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Old 7th January 2014, 10:02 PM   #3
Luc LEFEBVRE
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I had this one, but I'v sold it a few years ago...
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Old 8th January 2014, 08:32 AM   #4
colin henshaw
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Regarding the black surface often to be found on the iron of Congo weapons - I read somewhere that this was applied deliberately by the Africans using soot ? as a kind of preservative. Does anyone know about this ?
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Old 8th January 2014, 11:59 AM   #5
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colin henshaw
Regarding the black surface often to be found on the iron of Congo weapons - I read somewhere that this was applied deliberately by the Africans using soot ? as a kind of preservative. Does anyone know about this ?



Salaams Colin Henshaw... I continue to search... but as a completely oblique point here is some soot detail...

In Zimbabwe, among the Shona soot was used a seed preservative. What happened was that after harvest, farmers, especially women who had acquired skills of identifying good seed varieties would collect grain and maize cobs that they would tie and hang inside their kitchens. As smoke
wafted from the hearth, it would coat the grains. In this manner, the grains were protected from grain borers and rats because of the bitter test that would result from the soot. By employing this method, the people ensured that they could use the seed even after two or three seasons.

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Ibrahiim al Balooshi.
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Old 8th January 2014, 07:39 PM   #6
VANDOO
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I THINK THE BLACK FINISH OCCURS DURING THE FORGEING PROCESS AND IS PREFERRED LEFT ON IN AFRICA. IN EUROPEAN FORGEING THIS FINISH IS POLISHED OFF AND PERHAPS NOT AS PROMENENT AS IN THE FORGEING PROCESS USED IN AFRICA. HOPEFULLY SOME OF THE BLACKSMITH MEMBERS CAN CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG.
I WOULD LIGHTLY CLEAN THE BLADE (REMOVE ALL OF THE REDISH BROWN ACTIVE RUST) AND THEN OIL THE BLADE. GENTLY CLEAN THE HANDLE WITH WARM WATER AND TOOTH BRUSH THEN WIPE IT DRY AND THEN LET IT DRY COMPLEATLY AND THEN APPLY SOME LEMON OIL OR WAX. THE RESULT SHOULD BE QUITE PLEASING. OR YOU COULD JUST SEND THE DIRTY OLD THING TO ME AND I WILL BE GLAD TO HAVE IT RESIDE IN MY COLLECTION.
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Old 9th January 2014, 07:48 AM   #7
Martin Lubojacky
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Thanks for comments.
As far as soot is concerned, in North Cameroon I had possibility to visit enclosured "village residency" consisting of several "small houses". One of them was "kitchen" with fireplace. Various items including some made of iron were put in roof, all of them naturally covered with encrustment of soot.

Concerning cleaning of wooden items and hilts: I think that in the case of the West African original artefacts, I mean in those cases, which are, except of the riginal patina originated by using, also dirty because of the long storage and manipulation (residues of nymphs, rodential excrements, mud and a lot of dust - and also soot), the best way is to shower the wooden item by strong spout of tepid water - for short, than to dry it with clean and soft big rab - and eventually to finish (carefully) with hair drier, When it is totaly dry, you can "rediscover" the patina, which is still there, by simple rubbing with hands or soft cloth (if there is still problem, you can "rapair" patina with beeswax). The result (optical at least), used to be good.
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Martin
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Old 10th January 2014, 12:54 PM   #8
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Hi, nice one, it's a good old one, first half 20th C for sure.
I should clean it, at least the active rust.
I have a similar knife, but as mentioned before, this type of knife is not common, even in Belgium.
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