HAM 3759

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Accession Number: 3759
Region: Fang or Kota people, central Africa
Artifact Type: Musele ("bird-headed" ceremonial knife)
Date: 1800s-1900s
Materials: Iron; brass; copper wire
Weight: 13 oz.
Length: O.L. 12"; blade width 12"

The musele belongs to a family of distinctively African blade weapons, lacking parallels elsewhere in the world. Each region of central Africa had its own distinctive versions, with various arrangements of beaks, hooks, and knobs, sometimes so elaborate that the weapon was only usable for ceremonial purposes. The musele was used in dance rituals, and some related weapons actually served in place of money.

Musele (