Short Sword

African, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuba peoples
20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Democratic Republic of the Congo


Overall: 30 x 7 x 6 cm (11 13/16 x 2 3/4 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, copper alloy, wire

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Swords, daggers, knives

This short sword (ikul) has abstract geometric patterns carved into its woodern handle that recall Kuba raffia mat patterns, as well as engraved fullers in its copper blade. Such short swords are associated with masculine power and Kuba royalty. Previously, swords such as this would have been carried by all adult Kuba men.


Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart