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Mid-19th century. 53 3/4” length. Hardwood haft of unique form, swelled below the point and tapered to the butt. That form directly modeled after the US Type III Naval boarding pike. No other example we have encountered even vaguely resembles this form. Finely forged medially ridged triangular point on diced cylindrical bolster. The socket with iron tape wrap as often found, but in conical form to accomplish the transition. African workmanship throughout and the result an adaption of the weapon of the foreign sailors. The practice of Africans replicating Western weapon forms, including spears with musket shaped hafts is well documented. A weapon of a West African slave trader, carried for prestige by implication of support by the powerful foreigners, as well as protection as needed. In America, slavery was an essential element of agricultural and industrial production. However, the transatlantic transport of slaves was outlawed in 1808 though the practice continued, heavily policed by the English and American Navies. This spear belonged to an African trader involved in that later, illegal, and particularly brutal period in the slave trade where slave ships were disguised as merchantmen, and the slaves concealed in tiered decks below the main deck. Fine untouched condition and museum worthy.

Stock Number: FNS4110

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