Knife with head at end of handle
- Mangbetu peoples
- 19th–20th century
The handle of this knife (sape) is carved in the form of a woman's head with the distinctive Mangbetu royal women's hairstyle. Creating the hairstyle involved wrapping a woman's elongated forehead—which had been reshaped in infancy—with string and drawing her long hair around a basketry frame to create a halo effect.
Both men and women used knives for various purposes. An ornament as well as an implement, daggers were furnished with an elephant hide sheath and worn in the belt.
Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.