Wahaika hand club

New Zealand

Carved wood
18th or early 19th century
Height : 17 ½ in. (44.5 cm)

Ex collection James Hooper, #222
Ex Christie’s, Hawaiian and Maori Art from the James Hooper Collection, June 21st, 1977
Ex collection Leo & Lillian Fortess, Hawai’i
By descent

Published: Art and Artefacts of the Pacific, the James Hooper collection, Steven Phelps, page 56 # 222, Hutchinson, London 1975

Published: Voyages… From the North Pacific to the South Pacific in the wake of Captain Cook, 2019

Price: on request

Polynesia – New Zealand
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War was an integral part of Maori life. The complex and diverse causes of conflicts found their origins in disputes between groups competing for territory or resources. They could be linked to retaliations / vendettas between villages. Finally, taking part in combat was a way for a warrior to gain mana (sacred power).
Short hand clubs like the one presented here were designed for close combat. The whole blade edge might be used to parry blows or strike an opponent during combat.
These striking weapons were also an important symbol of authority. The carved figures on the side and at the end of the club depict Maori mythological beings, notably tiki, the primordial ancestor.