Moungalaulau
war club

oceania | Tonga Islands

Moungalaulau
war club

Tonga Islands

Exceptional”Crocodile head” war club decorated with 16 glyphs (human figures, birds and geometric motifs)

Carved wood (ironwood)
19th century
Height: 42 ½ in. (108 cm)

Ex private collection, UK

Sold
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. They demonstrated their prominent status as warriors.

The war club presented here is an exceptional example in terms of the quality of its sculpture.

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