Short sword

20th century, 1950–2000
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

On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Arms and armor

This short sword (ikul) has delicately inlaid brass on its wooden handle, which recalls Kuba raffia mat patterns, and 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.


1970s, acquired in Paris by 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