Iron club from Ghana, Africa. Collected by Robert Powley Wild. Given to the Museum in 1926.
The unusual curved cylindrical brass head of this weapon makes it more of a mace than a club. The black and white zigzag decorative bands on the shaft are typically Ghanaian. However, although it was obtained at a police station in Obuasi in the south of the country (where it had been confiscated), it is documented as belonging to the Mossi people who live in the north and into Burkino Faso. For over 400 years until French conquest in 1896, the Mossi retained power in this region with the aid of an effective cavalry and archer aristocracy.
The Mossi used arrowheads, swords, knives, lances, and iron clubs wrought by local blacksmiths and using locally smelted iron. The cultural importance placed upon their traditional mode of warfare made them generally reluctant to adopt the innovative military technologies of the 19th century, such as the musket. The fact that the shaft of this mace is made from an old musket barrel is therefore quite unusual and may represent a trophy taken from an enemy.