Kanak Axe

oceania | New Caledonia

Kanak Axe

New Caledonia

O Kono ceremonial axe with janus heads
Kanak

Serpentine (jade), wood, flying fox fur, fabric, fiber
19th century
Height: 19 ¼ in (49 cm)

Ex private collection before 2006
Ex Sotheby’s Paris, 5 Dec. 2006 lot 62
Ex Charles-Wesley Hourdé, Paris acquired at the above sale
Ex Abraham Rosman & Paula Rubel, New York
acquired from the above in May 2008

Kanak Ax 49 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
The earliest available information relating to the function of the axe is that it was used to cut up the bodies of cannibal victims; however, the fragility of the hafting and the preciousness of the blade make such a use extremely dubious.
Maurice Leenhardt in 1930 noted that the “green clubs” were seen in rainmaking rituals. He also noted that these prestige objects were kept in a basket of wealth belonging to important lineages, and that they were only removed on key occasions such as mourning ceremonies and weddings during which affirmation of status occurred.

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