Spear

oceania | Admiralty Islands

Spear

Admiralty Islands

Ceremonial spear

Carved wood, piments, fiber, obsidian blade
19th or early 20th century
Height : 81 in. (206 cm)

Collected during the Korrigane expedition (1934-1936)
Inventory number / Loan to Musée de l’Homme Paris: #D39-3/ 2015
Ex private collection Paris

Published: “Le Voyage de la Korigane dans les Mers du Sud”, Musée de l’Homme, Paris, 2001

Published: Pure Forms, 2014
Admiralty Spear Korrigane expedition 206 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
The Admiralty islands lie to the north of Papua New Guinea and have been inhabited for at least 5,000 years. The primary weapons of Admiralty Islanders were spears and daggers made from obsidian. Obsidian has been used for projectile points since immemorial times. Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed from rapidly- frozen lava. The Bismarck Archipelago, off the north-east coast of Papua New Guinea, is a rich natural resource of obsidian; in particular, the islands of Lou and Manus in the Admiralties from where the obsidian blade of these spears was probably sourced.
A comprehensive study/typology of Admiralty Islands spears was notably published by Robin Torrence. "Obsidian-tipped Spears and Daggers: What can we learn from 130 years of museum collecting" in Christian Kaufmann, Christin Kocher Schmid and Sylvia Ohnemus, eds. Admiralty Islands Art from the South Seas. Zürich: Museum Rietberg, 2002, pp.73-80).
The iconography of this 19th century spear is highly characteristic of ancient Admiralty Islands art with the depiction of human figure emerging from the mouth of a crocodile.

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