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The Throne of Weapons:A sculpture entirely made of decommissioned weapons used in the Mozambican Civil War

David Goran

The Mozambican Civil War began in 1977, two years after Mozambique gained independence from Portuguese colonial rule.

During the war, where many children had to use weapons and commit many crimes, seven million guns alone poured into the country, and about one million people were killed or died from starvation. The war finally ended fifteen years later, in 1992, when the Soviet Union collapsed (which had supplied Mozambique with economic and military aid during the war).

Designed by Kester in 2001 in Maputo, Mozambique Photo Credit

Designed by Kester in 2001 in Maputo, Mozambique Photo Credit

 

Built entirely out of decommissioned weapons used during the Mozambican Civil War which claimed almost 1 million lives  Photo Credit

Built entirely out of decommissioned weapons used during the Mozambican Civil War which claimed almost 1 million lives  Photo Credit

This throne, known as “The Throne of Weapons,“ was made in 2001 by the Mozambican artist Cristovao Canhavato, known as (Kester), as part of the “Transforming Arms into Ploughshares” project. It is entirely made of discarded weapons, mostly AK-47 assault rifles.

The TAP project was founded by Bishop Dinis Sengulane and supported by the Christian Council of Mozambique. Over seven million weapons, previously used by combatants on both sides of the Mozambican Civil War, were voluntarily exchanged for domestic, construction, and agricultural tools, such as sewing machines, plows, and bicycles. Artists then turned the decommissioned weapons into sculptures.

The guns used for the construction of the throne were made all over the world and then sold to Africa  Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The guns used for the construction of the throne were made all over the world and then sold to Africa Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

 

The throne’s seat was made out of weapons manufactured in Poland and Czechoslovakia  Photo Credit

The throne’s seat was made out of weapons manufactured in Poland and Czechoslovakia Photo Credit

The weapons used for the Throne originated in seven different countries (Portugal, Eastern Europe, and North Korea), so Kester’s idea was to reflect the broad reach of the international arms trade.

It is a powerful piece wrapped in messages which represent both the tragedy of the war and the nation’s hope for peace. Most of the guns were imported during the Civil War, but some of the guns even date back to the Second World War.

The Throne of Begoro in Ghana in the 1880s   Photo Credit

The Throne of Begoro in Ghana in the 1880s Photo Credit

 

It is known as the Museum’s most “eloquent“ object  Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

It is known as the Museum’s most “eloquent“ object Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

In 2002, the British Museum bought the sculpture, and it became a part of its collection, ever since. Thrones are also traditional African symbols of immense power and progression of a king or a chief.

Read another story from us: In medieval times, the stiletto was one of the favored weapons for delivering a death blow to a wounded knight

Examples of such thrones, which originate from Congo, Zanzibar, and Ghana, can be seen in the African collections of the British Museum.