Pitts River Museum

Gun-flint maker’s kit (1914.76.33)

 This kit belonged to a Shawia gun-flint maker and consists of finished and unfinished flints, flakes and a miniature pick.

The Shawia (Chaouia) are a nomadic Berber group living in the Atlas Mountains of Algeria. The ethnologist Melville Hilton-Simpson made studies of the Shawia before the First World War. In his book about them, he recalled meeting a native man who made a living from carving flints for flintlock muskets. He used a large stone to chip flakes from the core and a small pick (gedum) for trimming and screwing up the jaws on the lock. A single flint would last up to twenty shots. The flintlock had become obsolete in Europe by the mid-1800s but was used in parts of Asia and Africa until the 20th century.

Flissa (1884.24.121)

This flissa or flyssa is the distinctive weapon of the Kabyle Berber people of Algeria. Since they vary in length they are sometimes classed as swords, sometimes as knives. Unlike many North African swords which are fitted with European blades, the flissa blade is without exception of local manufacture.

Such weapons were used to break open chain mail, which was still worn in this part of the world until the 19th century. The blade is single-edged for cutting but also has a tapering point for stabbing. This typical example has an octagonal grip, animal head pommel and decoratively incised blade.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-2/index.html

Fighting Ring (1922.12.8)

The distribution o finger hooks and finger knives coincides closely with that of fighting bracelets. These are found among several Nilotic and Nilo-Hanitic peoples of the Sudan, northern Kenya and Uganda and among some West African peoples in, for example, northern Nigeria.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-22/index.html

Crossbow (1884.16.2)

This wooden crossbow was used by the Fang and Mpongwe peoples of Gabon in west-central Africa. It has a rare and archaic ‘split stock’ trigger mechanism and was used with either iron-headed or poisoned arrows. This crossbow played a central part in anthropologists’ understanding of the spread and development of crossbows. Its acquisition in the mid 19th century also featured, on a wider scale, in a study on hitherto relatively unknown region and peoples in equatorial Africa.

Read morehttp://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/crossbow-1884162-224/index.html

Bakatwa (1905.45.1)

The bakatwa is a double-edged sword of the Shona people of Zimbabwe, used in religious ceremonies. This example dates to the 19th century. It has a distinctive blade, one half being recessed and painted a dark colour, a carved ebony scabbard and a hilt plaited and bound in brass wire.

Read more: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-10/index.html

This Museum is amazing; the PittsRiver Museum goes into depth on armor/weaponry of Africa and much more. Checkout all the pieces: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/arms-and-armour-africa-39/index.html http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/africa/index.html

Home/Galleries by Region: http://web.prm.ox.ac.uk/weapons/index.php/tour-by-region/oceania/index.html

 

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