Wood and metal
This collection of twenty-five poisoned arrows is from Yakusu, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yakusu was a mission station of the Baptist Missionary Society (BMS). Many traditional objects collected by missionaries were given up as part of the process of conversion, collected as 'curios', or brought back to Britain for use in missionary exhibitions and fundraising. Poisoned arrows may also have at times been used as a weapon against missionaries. George Grenfell, a pioneer in the BMS, described his experiences in Congo in the late-nineteenth century: “several times, after a period of apparently amicable intercourse... they let fly their poisoned arrows at us.”
The Museum has a large collection of objects from the DRC which were collected byJohn and William Forfeitt, Secretary and missionary to the Baptist Missionary Society, respectively, but it is not known if these objects were part of that earlier collection. The Forfeitts had links to significant Reading families and businesses - both worked for Suttons Seeds before their mission with the BMS, and William Forfeitt married a daughter of the Collier family.
Museum object number