This Zulu Iklwa (pronounced correctly, the name mimics the sound of the blade being withdrawn from flesh), has a 410 mm hand forged blade. The blade is approximately 51 mm at its widest and is in good condition with minor age related tarnish that adds to its character. The blade is held securely within the haft and a section of cow tail strengthens the bond. Traditionally there were three types of binding used to secure the blade into the haft – wire, cow tail and Ilala palm. The blade is firm within the haft and the 650 mm haft has a wonderful patina and flares nicely at the end. While the Zulu King was responsible for providing his warriors (Impis) with shields, the individual Zulu warrior was responsible for his own weaponry. As such, the length and breadth of a warrior’s Iklwa blade was very much a status symbol. The more steel a warrior could afford to purchase the wealthier and more important he was. The same applied to the choice of binding for the blade. Ilala palm was free to harvest, wire could be traded (but was often stolen from the newly installed telegraph system) and a cow tail could only be obtained by killing a cow. Cattle held great importance to the Zulus and cattle ownership was the indicator of an individual’s wealth and status. The quality and size of the blade coupled with the cow tail binding suggests that this was a high status weapon. This Iklwa has a total length of 106 cm.