late 1800s or early 1900s
Overall: 66 cm (26 in.)
Gift of Dori and Daniel Rootenberg, Jacaranda Tribal, New York 2010.232
The term knobkerrie refers to a characteristic spherical knob of wood or head atop a cylindrical shaft.
Relatively short sticks historically used for hunting and fighting are customarily called knobkerries. A combination of Afrikaans and Shona words, the name refers to the characteristic spherical knob of wood (knop) or head atop a cylindrical shaft (kirri). The knobs on these were carved into a tight whorl and a compressed sphere with a central rib. Even though their basic shapes were derived from real weapons, many of these precious objects were rarely if ever used as such. Highly personal, they instead functioned as ceremonial display items or regalia, symbolizing the masculinity and prowess of their owner.
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