Today, as in the past, African men may wear swords, knives, spears, and other weapons for display to indicate their status. Many societies restrict the use of ceremonial weapons to specific individuals or groups. Some traditions practiced today are hundreds of years old. Swords served as emblems of authority as far back as the 15th century in the Kingdom of Benin, which had its capital in what is now Nigeria. Only the king of Benin wore the ceremonial ada, an ancient, long-bladed sword that symbolized his right to take human life. Chiefs carried other types of swords. Brass plaques from the 16th and 17th centuries depict this tradition.
- African Objects for Divination (egrejeen.wordpress.com)