Tewhatewha war club

oceania | New Zealand

Tewhatewha war club

New Zealand

Tewhatewha war club
Maori

19th century
Carved wood and feathers
Heigth: 161 cm – 63 ¼ in.

Provenance
Ex collection William Ohly (1883-1955), New Barnet, UK
Ex Christie’s Paris, 11 December 2011, lot 209
Ex collection Douglas Barrett, Little Barrington, UK
Ex collection Edric van Vredenburgh, acquired from above

Published: Fine Arts Paris & La Biennale 2022
Tewhatewha Maori war club 161 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
In Maori art, there are three types of two-handed long clubs: powhenua, tewhatewha and taiaha.
The tewhatewha, with its distinctive axe shape, caught the attention of European travelers early on.
As noted in “The Old-Time Maori” by Makereti (London, 1938, pp.319-320), the tewhatewha is generally 4 to 5 feet long, and is not unlike an axe in shape. One of the names for this weapon is paiaka (a root), as it is made mostly of the root of the maire tree, a very hard wood. The small end was used in delivering a point, but the common thing to do was to strike a blow, not with the edge of the blade, but with the thick back of it. There was a small hole in the lower part of the blade, and from this was fastened a bunch of feathers of the kahu (hawk) or kereru (pigeon). This bunch hung loosely from a fibre cord, and was used to attract or disconcert the enemy, the fighter drawing it swiftly across his opponent's eyes with a very quick movement of the weapon. In combat the tewhatewha was held with the point downward.

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