Mangbetu, Emambele Prestige Knife, D.R. Congo
Iron, wood
13-3/4" tall x 8"wide
Mid 20th century
Ex private European collection


This is a nice example of the most famous type of
Mangbetu prestige knife which is called
Emambele. The
blades and handles were often created by two different
people. According to travel accounts from the late 19th
and 20th century, the Mangbetu considered knives with
curved blades to be emblems of prestige. They were
never worn in a belt, but instead were carried in the right
hand or sometimes hooked over the shoulder. I especially
enjoy the bi-colored blades that are sometimes found on
knives and swords which is what initially drew me to this
particular example, but I also enjoy the nice metalwork on
the handle.
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