U’U war club
U’U war club
Height: 58 ¼ in. (148 cm)
Ex private collection
Ex Sotheby’s, London, December 3, 1984, lot 61
Ex Galerie Lemaire, Amsterdam
Ex Abraham Rosman & Paula Rubel, New York,
acquired from the above on July 21, 1989
This exceptional club is an ancient and very pure form of u’u club.
The upper section of this 148 cm tall club features a series of three tiki heads carved in relief. There is an incised décor of circular motifs around two of the tikis. Below the crossbar (partially restored), another carved tiki face appears, surrounded by refined and geometric motifs.
The representations of the tiki heads convey an intense sense of power and strength. The tatoo marks below the tikis add refinement and grace to the piece.
The quality of the carving and the superb dark patina attest to the age and great use of this rare, ancient club.
Carol S. Ivory notes in Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands published the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, 2005: Warfare was an integral part of Marquesan life. Weapons included slings, spears, and war clubs made of ironwood, a heavy, dense wood the Marquesans called toa, which was also the word for "warrior." One type of club, the 'u'u, and effective weapon in hand to hand combat, also served as a symbol of prestige for chiefs and warriors.