Description

In abstract human form, the bango (or bwagogambanza) blade displays symmetry and sophistication. Elsen describes the function of this blade type as "luxury weapons for notables and chiefs." They were also used ceremonially, notably in initiation rites for young men.

While describing a different but closely related blade, Blackmun summarises this blade's purpose succinctly: "Despite the sharp cutting edges on the outside of the two arching blades, beautiful swords of this type were designed primarily as emblems of rank. They were carried by men of authority on public occasions. Like the Ngombe sacrificial swords, they are shaped and decorated for beauty and elegance, and enhanced with copper and brass."

Distinguishing Features

  • Stylised knife
  • Incised surface
  • Coiled brass grip
  • Knife takes form of human figure with arms upraised

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