Original Victorian Era Zulu War Impi inDuna Knobkierie with Leather and Woven Wire Binding
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a wonderful example of the classic ZULU Warrior's knobkerrie battle club. This example measures 30 1/2" overall and is carved from one piece of hardwood. The round war head is 3 1/2" in diameter. The shaft was once covered in copper wire on 5 locations, but today only the upper most location is still present. The top of the shaft is intricately wrapped in copper wire bound below a short leather neck indicating that this club was carried by an Impi inDuna (regimental commander). A legendary weapon, original examples of which are becoming very hard to find.
In a Zulu Impi an inDuna guided each regiment, and he in turn answered to senior izinduna who controlled the corps grouping. Overall guidance of the host was furnished by elder izinduna usually with many years of experience. One or more of these elder chiefs might accompany a big force on an important mission, but there was no single "field marshal" in supreme command of all Zulu forces. Regimental izinduna, like the non-coms of today's army, and yesterday's Roman Centurions, were extremely important to morale and discipline.
A very upmarket knobkerrie for a ZULU Impi leader that was brought home to England as a "war trophy" by some red jacketed British Infantryman who was very grateful to return in one piece. To think these Zulu knobkerries and Zulu spears were what the Martini Henry equipped soldiers were facing. Says a lot for the bravery of the Zulus warriors!
Impi is a Zulu word for any armed body of men. However, in English it is often used to refer to a Zulu regiment, which is called an ibutho in Zulu. Its beginnings lie far back in historic tribal warfare customs, when groups of armed men called impis battled. They were systematized radically by the Zulu king Shaka, who was then only the exiled illegitimate son of king Senzangakona, but already showing much prowess as a general in the army of Mthethwa king Dingiswayo in the Mthethwa-Ndwandwe war in the early 1810s.
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