Fine large example 21 3/4" length, of heavy form with large spherical head and slightly tapered flared butt haft. Unusually, made from a hardwood tree trunk or large limb, concentrically worked so that the grain rings produce a ringed effect. The ball head so precisely shaped that in combination with the rings that, at first glance, it appears lathe turned. Magnified inspection, however, reveals that the surface is scraped with slightly serrated tools, probably sea shells as was common. The amount of to simply remove the unwanted wood is staggering and the achievement of such symmetry with such tools is unprecedented in our experience, which goes back to working with Fergus Clunie of the Fiji Museum in Suva, prior to the 1987 government overthrows. A further distinguishing feature is the lack of chip decoration found on virtually all Fijian weapons. As that was applied over the life of its owner, it is possible that this weapon was captured very soon after it was made. Allowing for its other qualities, especially the selection of the cut of wood, it more likely was made and used on one of the more remote islands and represents a micro culture about which very little is recorded. Fijians were voracious cannibals consuming human flesh, including women and children, absent any spiritual motive. Preservation depended on complete isolation resulting in micro cultures with customs and crafts specific to them only. This is the product of such a culture and perhaps the only surviving example.

Item ID: FNS2843

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