Turkana Fighting Finger Knife – Ngigolio – Kenya

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Turkana Fighting Finger Knife – Ngigolio – Kenya

Mid 20th century. Hand wrought iron and copper wire. Cm. 6,9 high x cm. 4,3 width (2.72″ x 1.69″); grams 26,8 (0.95 oz.).

“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”.

The Turkana peoples of Kenya used both finger hooks and finger knives. As weapons, they could be used to gash the face or gouge out an eye, but they were also used as utensils to cut and eat meat.

Finger hooks and finger knives are found among several Nilotic and Nilo-Hanitic peoples of the Sudan, northern Kenya and Uganda and among some West African peoples in, for example, northern Nigeria.

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