A 19th C. Shona Ceremonial Axe – Scorpion Tail Blade

A Very Scarce 19th Century Shona Scorpion Tail Blade Axe

Origin: Shona People (Lower Zambezi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique)
Time Period: 19th Century
Provenance: UK Market
Materials: Wood, Iron, Brass Wire

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Shona Ceremonial Axe

Scorpion Tail Axe Description

 A scarce, 19th century Shona prestige and ceremonial axe with a scorpion tail blade. These axes were common in lower Zembezi areas among Tonga, Shona and Tsonga people. Only a few of this type survived, most are in private collections and few museums.

Axe Traditional Use

This is a ceremonial axe, also passed down the family lineage like the bakatwa. These type of traditional weapons display signs of status (amasumpa – raised bump pattern) at the same time bearing ancestral iconography.


  • Heavily pitted blade
  • Frail and loose wire-work
  • Cracked / chipped wooded parts


Shona – Scorpion Tail Blade

British Museum

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