Late 19th century Zulu knife, in the form of a spear-blade with a rough wooden handle. These knives were apparently inspired by growing Zulu familiarity with western knives, the result of increasing penetration of Zululand from the 1850s by white traders. There were essentially spear blades but with the metal tang flattened and a handle fitted. They were designed to be carried slotted through the lacing on the back of a shield - they are sometimes referred to as 'disembowelling knives', because they were more manageable when disembowelling the corpse of a fallen enemy, in accordance with post-combat rituals, than a conventional spear with a long haft. They were perhaps at their most popular at the end of the nineteenth-century but were always a specialist weapon, carried only by a few, and their use fell away in the twentieth century as warfare declined and knives of European manufacture became more readily available. Overall length 14 inches, some surface rusting, light damage to the wooden handle.