Shona Bakatwa (Dagger) Zimbabwe

Shona Bakatwa

Origin: Zimbabwe
Time Period: 19-20th Century
Provenance: Private Collection, UK Market
Materials: Wire, Hard-Wood

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A Shona Bakatwa


The bakatwa has a double-edged blade, wire bound hardwood haft and scabbard or sheath (hara in Shona), distinctive carved cone shaped pommel with wire wrap, the grip is also bound with  intricate brass wirework.

Traditional Use

Bakatwa were and are passed down from generation to generation in a lineage, and were used in traditional rituals to symbolize the presence of the owner’s ancestors, the sword’s previous owners. In these rituals, the owner addressed the bakatwa as if it was the physical embodiment of his ancestors.


Genuine tribal artwork valuation is typically based on some of the following criteria with the help of an expert:

  1. Condition, (damages, repairs)
  2. Authenticity and Provenance, (history of ownership)
  3. Quality, (the type of material used, preservation, skill, aesthetics/beauty)
  4. Uniqueness (the only one of its kind), rarity (occurs only in few locations)  affect value.

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