Ngulu: Congolese Curved Sword

3 minute read

The menacing-looking, curved Ngulu Sword is a little-known weapon used primarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the Bantu people, who reside in the Congo Basin.

History and Use: Hundreds Year-old Ceremonial Weapon and Status Symbol

The Ngulu sword dates back to the late 1800s, having been developed by the Ngombe tribe of the Congo.

Its distinguishing feature is the large curved head, almost forming a hook-shape at the top, along with several other divers in the lower part of the blade which add to its menacing appearance.

Being a heavy sword, these 'scallops' sit into the shoulder of the carrier, making the sword easier and more comfortable to carry. The back of the blade is unsharpened for this reason, too - to ease in carrying the heat sword.

The sword gradually fell out of favour and every day use became less common, at which point it took on a more important role as a ceremonial status symbol and for animal sacrifices.

Popular Culture

The Ngulu could be considered similar to the Egyptian Copes, but with a much larger blade and circular tip. The Ngulu was featured on the TV show forged in fire, where contestants battled to create best looking and best performing blade in a number of strength and sharpness tests:

Images: One,Two.