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Throwing Knife (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

This is a Throwing knife.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of Natural History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Created before 1889. Its medium is iron, handle covered in bark cloth and tied with braided fiber.

Made of local iron, this throwing knife was fashioned by professional blacksmiths. Smiths were not only masters of the technical skills required to forge and shape iron, but they were steeped in the ritual aspects of their work. A smith’s tools included an anvil on which to pound out the iron, several types of hammers and chisel-like tools, and materials and instruments to sharpen the blades and prepare the surface of the knife. While engineered to be thrown underhand horizontally from the hip, this multibladed knife had other practical uses as well: as a dagger, an axe and as a blade to cut a path through brush. Because iron was such a valuable material, these knives were prestige items and could be used as currency. This is one of sixty knives collected by Herbert Ward in the Congo Free State, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, between 1884 and 1889.

It is credited Herbert Ward Collection, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E322652-11.

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Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • Good Grips Knife
  • steel (stainless), santoprene (thermoplastic rubber).
  • Gift of OXO.
  • 1992-52-15
  • Pierced Dish Dish
  • soft paste porcelain, vitreous enamel.
  • Gift of Wendy Vanderbilt Lehman.
  • 1992-5-3
  • Good Grips Knife
  • steel (stainless), santoprene (thermoplastic rubber).
  • Gift of OXO.
  • 1992-52-16

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 1.9 x 33.7 x 35.9 cm (3/4 x 13 1/4 x 14 1/8 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Throwing Knife (Democratic Republic of the Congo) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>