Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

knife with sheath
  • unknown Chokwe maker
  • knife with sheath, late 1800s–1914
  • Where object was made: Angola
  • leather, iron, brass, wire, wood, incising
  • Object Length/Width: 47 x 10 cm
    Object Length/Width: 18 1/2 x 3 7/8 in
  • Gift of Claude D. Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0378.a,b
Label Text

This is a knife with an iron blade (2007.0378.a) and leather covered sheath (2007.0378.b). The handle is probably a wooden form covered with leather and then decorated. There is a round iron spike-like projection on the end of the handle, with three sets of two incised lines around it. It has a cage-like pommel of brass wires, some of which are twisted. The grip of the handle is wrapped in wire and the wide part of the handle near the blade is covered in brass tacks. The blade itself is flared at the base, constricts, and flares again before it tapers to a tip. The cutting edge is silver, the interior is left dark, and there is an incised row of bowtie-like shapes running down the midline.

The sheath is wood, covered with leather. There is a large circle at the distal end, with three bands of brass tacks around the perimeter. There is a ridge dividing the circle from the rest of the sheath, and another ridge near the opening. There was a row of brass tacks at the opening, but nearly all are now missing.