MSSU African Art Exibit : The MSSU African Art collection features a variety of authentic works of art from various tribes located throughout Central Africa. The objects in the collection range from mundane day to day grooming tools to ritualistic masks and statues.
Poto Knife
Object Name:
Knife, Poto
Other Name:
Knife, Poto, Kuba
Place of Origin:
Kuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa
Aboriginal Indigenous Art.
H = 23—1/2"
W = 3—1/2"
D = 1—1/2"

Knives, daggers and swords from the Kuba people are used as prestige items. Historical documents indicate that quantities of them were brought to the Congo by Portuguese and Dutch traders beginning around the 16th century. Many weapons were then forged by Congolese blacksmiths to emulate foreign examples. They were reserved for nobles and used for important ceremonial occasions.

This weapon has a large ball crafted onto the handle, which is made of woven raffia and also some animal hide pieces. These pommels are said to contain magical substances which gives these knifes their power. Also faint traces of decorative paint may have been applied to each side of blade. These knives where used durning ceremonies, for weapons as well as for bride price.

Leaf—shaped planished blade, with handle resembling a figure with large head wrapped in cloth. Neck, shoulders and arms wrapped in split bamboo raffia. Flattened arms and body extending from handle to hilt, forming figure.
Finley Collection
Iron W/Raffia and Cloth
Ritually Used
Metal Working / Weaving
Art Department, Missouri Southern State University
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