Antique Zulu Weapons
Antique Zulu Weapons are original historic weapons used by the Zulu tribes of Southern Africa.
History & Description
Zulu weapons were basic in design and were typically fashioned from primitive materials such as wood, bones or crudely bent and twisted metal.
The most common type of weapon used by the Zulus was the spear, which varied in length according to its purpose. A couple of examples of spears include the throwing spear, known as an isijula, or a stabbing spear called an iklwa. It is believed that losing an iklwa spear would have resulted in the owner’s execution.
However, many Zulus went into battle wielding a variety of weapons, including a knobkerrie, which was a heavy wooden club similar to a mace, or an umTshisa, which was a traditional Zulu fighting stick. Perhaps the most fearsome weapon was the Zulu battle-axe, which had a curved, slightly asymmetrical metal blade attached to a long wooden shaft.
Guide for collectors
Instances of antique Zulu weapons sold at national auction houses are extremely rare. Collectors are more likely to purchase antique Zulu weapons at international auction houses, such as Christie’s.
An item’s price depends on its age, historical significance and condition. In the past, lots containing antique Zulu weapons have sold for less than £200. However examples have also sold for several thousands of pounds.
Notable auction sales
On March 25th 1999 at Christie’s in London, a set of three Zulu weapons realised a price of £253.
On September 22nd 2010 at Christie’s in London, a Zulu knobkerrie in poor condition realised a price of £3,500.
On April 3rd 2003 at Christie’s in New York, a selection of fifteen Zulu weapons, including a knobkerrie pipe, two Kuba knives and an Ngbandi axe, realised a price of $5,736.
On March 25th 1999 at Christie’s in London, a set of Zulu knobkerries and spears in poor condition realised a price of £173.