An important carved ivory tooth palmed weapon, leiomano, Hawaiian Islands
length 3 1/8in
the carved marine ivory replicating a shark tooth, with plaited sennit cordage on wood handle, with two Leo Fortess Collection tags, one reading: "LEI MANO/SOPER COLL - #975/HAWAIIAN"; the other: "LEI MANO FROM HALE NAUA SOCIETY FOUNDED BY KALAKAUA IN 1886 - SEE P. 133 IN I.JENKINS "HAWAIIAN CALABASH"/SEE BUCK"A" B.H.4809"
Leo Fortess Collection, Hawaii
Soper Collection, Hawaii
The leiomano was a formidable weapon apparently worn inward-facing over the middle finger and used to slash the throat of an opponent. Its name is " ... derived from lei (whale-tooth ivory) and mano (shark), with the possessive "o" linking the two together." (Buck, p. 446) This example formed a part of John Soper's paraphenalia contained in the unique type of lidded bowl possessed and utilized by members of Kalakaua's Hale Naua Society in their secret rituals (see note to lot 2037 for a representative example of such a society bowl).
John Harris Soper (1846-1944) was an important historical figure in 19th century Hawaii, having been appointed Marshal of the Kingdom by Kalakaua in 1884. He was one of Kalakaua's closest advisors, and commanded the forces that suppressed the Robert W. Wilcox rebellion of 1889, overthrew the monarchy in 1893, and suppressed the counter-revolution of 1895.
Severson, Don, Finding Paradise, 2002, Hawaii, (page 18 following page)
Jenkins (1989:133) for two similar examples, together with Hale Naua lidded bowls.
Buck (1957:446-47, Figure 287(a))