Swazi Throwing Spear – Extremely Rare – Stamped W. Marple & Sons


Time Period: Early 20th / Late 19th  Century

Origin: Eswatini / South Africa

Materials: Metal, Wood, Wire-Wrap & Cow Tail Binding

Provenance: UK Market, Private Collection

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A Rare Swazi Broad Leaf Blade Spear

Nguni spears have similar features such as wire-wrap / reed binding and of-course the iconic ‘pincer notch’ just below the blade. Swazi spears however are typically decorated a little bit more than their counterpart the Zulu, sometimes with colorful wire-wrap and the most noticeable is the cow-tail normally at the bottom of the haft.

This throwing spear is rare, metal rods from the UK were sometimes traded and repurposed to manufacture weapons for the locals. Vegetable cutter blades were also converted to excellent battle axes. This spear can easily be dated due to its markings:  W. Marple & Sons with a single shamrock.

 Spears:  Authenticity and Valuation

Genuine, 19th-century artifacts like these have become highly sort after by collectors, museums and scholars. Zulu or Nguni related spears have two notches or pincer marks below the blade of the spear with a tang that fits into the wooden haft. A strong vegetable glue is used to set the tang which is secured with a binding material which can be derived from such materials as cow tail, leather strips, sinew, reed, palm leaf, split cane, brass, copper or steel wire. Ethnographic art valuation is typically determined by some of the following criteria with the help of an expert:

-Authenticity and Provenance, (origin and history of ownership)
-Quality, (the type of material used, preservation, skill, aesthetics/beauty)
-Uniqueness (the only one of its kind), rarity (occurs only in few locations) affect value.

Finally, to fully appreciate ethnographic tribal art, one has to have a sound understanding of the particular cultural history

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions, the spears can also be sold separately.


Pic: https://tang.skidmore.edu/collection/artworks/2394-swazi-youth-singceni-swaziland

Pic: https://www.rebirth.co.za/images/traditionalclothingswazi.jpg


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