Throwing Knives History – Central Africa

Throwing knives saw use in central Africa. The wide area they were used over means that they were referred to by a number of names such as Kulbeda, Pinga and Trombash. These weapons had multiple iron blades and were used for warfare and hunting. A maximum effective range of about 50 yards has been suggested. The weapon appears to have originated in central Sudan somewhere around 1000AD from where it spread south. It has however been suggested that the same weapon is depicted in Libyan wall sculptures dating around 1350BC.

The throwing knives were extensively collected by Europeans with the result that many European and American museums have extensive collections. However the collectors generally failed to record the origin of the blades or their use. As a result the history and use of the throwing knives is poorly understood. A further complication is that the label Throwing knife was attached by ethnographers to various objects that didn’t fit into other weapon categories even though they may not have been thrown.

A selection of African throwing knives in the British Museum

The Art of Throwing Knives