Few African cultures can boast a history as long and as proud as the Kuba who live along the Snakuru River. Their history parallels Great Zimbabwe at its founding and grew along with the Benin. Kuba Chief Shamba-Bolongongo (1600-20) visited Benin and introduced the iconic Kuba knife ikula, which was subsequently represented in Benin sculpture. The Kuba prospered in a society which valued material things and ordinary objects, particularly those associated with the Royal Court, were made to the highest standard. Their geographic location and the ferocity of their warriors made them virtually free from the predation of slavers though they themselves were among the most feared of slavers.
Mid 19th century. Large example in its fully developed form. 9 3/4" blade of particularly wide proportions and characteristic form. Shows it crisp detail with original finish, interspersed with speckles and small islands of pitting. Wood hilt made without decoration prior to missionary contact. Shows fine glossy patina over age encrustation. Among the very largest for these.