Kinikini
war club

oceania | Tonga Islands

Kinikini
war club

Tonga Islands

Culacula or Kinikini
Chief’s or priest’s paddle club

19th century
Carved wood
Hauteur : 112 cm – 44 in.

Provenance
Ex private collection, Saint Jean de Luz, acquired between 1930 and 1950
Ex collection J.P. Meyer, Paris

Published
Casse-Tête II : Clubs & Weapons of Oceania, Meyer, May 2022, pl. 216-217

Published: Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale 2022
Kinikini Tonga war club 112 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
War occupied a preponderant place within Tongan societies. Battles served to reinforce the authority of chiefs as well as to multiply ties between different groups of allies.
War clubs – the most precious possessions of warriors – evidenced exceptional sophistication and refinement in their sculpture and ornamentation.
The Kinikini club was reserved exclusively for chiefs or war-priests. As indicated by Fergus Clunie, (Yalo I Viti, 1986, p. 185), « chiefs and priests had to stand to the fore, so were at particular risk during skirmishes, when arrows and sling stones flew thick, fast and erratically ». Hence the interest of a broad club like this, which could also serve as a shield.

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