Thread: Masai? Spear
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Old 9th September 2021, 05:32 PM   #10
Peter B.
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Germany
Posts: 24

Hello dear friends of african weapons.

I was on vacation a few weeks and would now like to contribute some information to the thread.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to buy a lot of 40 african spears.
They come from an East German museum, so they come from before 1939, probably from colonial times before 1918.
It also contained 10 Masai spears. 5 with a wide blade, 3 with a narrow blade and a strong central ridge and two pieces with a narrow blade but a flat central ridge.
It can be assumed that they were all acquired at the same time.
The forms mentioned existed at the same time at the beginning of the 20th century. So the shape of the blade is not a sign of age.
In Springs "African Arms and Armor" it is stated that around the turn of the century there was a change from broad-edged to narrow spears. This would mean that the wide specimens are always "old" and are no longer used today, while the narrow ones can be over 100 years old or new.
Here you can make a distinction based on the quality of the production. The old specimens in my collection have exactly straight edges, and the central ridge is sharp and straight. The surfaces are polished and show no forge marks.
I saw newly manufactured spears of the same type for the tourist market in Kenya, and the Maasai may still use them in this form today: The blade is roughly and unevenly forged, you can sometimes see welds between the blade and the spout and you can see that the final shape was electrically ground.

The long spear in the picture is 2.55m long (my rooms are only 2.50 high)
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