Antique Masai (Maasai) Throwing Club – Rungu – Kenya
End 19th – early 20th century. Hard wood. Cm. 60,5 in length (23.82″). Weight: grams 147,9 (5.22 oz.).
A rungu (Swahili, plural marungu) is a wooden throwing club or baton bearing special symbolism and significance in certain East African tribal cultures. It is especially associated with Maasai morans (male warriors) who have traditionally used it in warfare and for hunting.
Rungus are typically about 50–60 cm in length with a long narrow shaft for a handle and heavy knob or ball at the end in the manner of other indigenous cudgels such as the Irish shillelagh or South African knobkierie.
In Maasai culture, the rungu is an important emblem of warrior status for young males. A special one is held by the designated speaker at important tribal gatherings. Although utilitarian examples are made of simple hard wood, ceremonial rungus may be elaborately carved or made of other materials.
Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The Maasai speak a Nilo-Saharan language. They inhabit the African Great Lakes region and arrived via the South Sudan. Most Nilotic speakers in the area, including the Maasai, the Samburu and the Kalenjin, are pastoralists, and are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers.
The Maasai and other groups in East Africa have adopted customs and practices from neighboring Cushitic-speaking groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms.
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