Old Turkana Fighting Wrist Knife – Ararait – Kenya

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Old Turkana Fighting Wrist Knife – Ararait – Kenya

Mid 20th century. Hand wrought iron covered with a thin strip of leather. Diameter cm. 12,3 width (3.35″); grams 67,6 (0.61 oz.). Excellent conditions.

Inserted on the wrist and covered with a thin strip of leather, it may look like an ornament, but once it is ready for use, it is better to be far away from it. Wrist knife could be used to gash the face or gouge out an eye, but they were also used as utensils to cut and eat meat.

“The Turkana are the finest fighting men in East Africa”, so, without so many preambles, Mr. Crampton defined his subjects when he was appointed a politacal officer in Turkanaland. He is echoed by Elisabeth M. Thomas when she describes them as “having a reputation for an extreme rapacious bravery” and again as “exceptionnally fearless”.

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