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Vanikau Bulibuli club

Fiji Islands

Carved wood (ironwood), marine ivory
19th century
Height: 49 in. (113.5 cm)

Ex private collection, Paris

Literature: Archipels Fidji Tonga Samoa, Voyageurs & Curieux, 2005, plate 125, page 101

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

Price: sold

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It was in 1643 that the Dutch navigator Abel Janszoon Tasman discovered the Fiji archipelago in the South Pacific. Traditional Fiji society was organized around clans and divided into hierarchal classes, with chiefs and priests found at the summit. War occupied a preponderant place within Fijian society. Battles served to reinforce the authority of chiefs as well as to multiply ties between different groups of allies.
War clubs conferred prestige on their owners, and were proof of their status as warriors.