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Zulu Knobkerry Club

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1965T5663
Collection:Social History - Pinto Collection
Date:1850 - 1900

Maker Information

Maker:Zulu / Northern Nguni - View history


This carved lignum vitae knobkerry club from South Africa was believed to have been a feather bed smoother, until it was recently recognized by an Ethnography expert. It is an example of how many objects can be misidentified and separated from their original context. It could well have been used to smooth beds, but we now know that it was not intended for that purpose. The Zulus made knobkerries in a variety of different forms, the most usual type having a spherical head. This type, with its flat, kidney-shaped head, must have been a fearsome fighting weapon.

Purchased from Edward H Pinto, 1965.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century
Medium:Carved. Probably lignum vitae.
Material(s):Lignum vitae wood
Place of Origin:South Africa


Height:67.1 cm
Width:10.5 cm
Depth:2.4 cm