Huon Gulf Club, Papua New Guinea
length 45 1/8in (114.5cm)
of black palm wood carved in a long, flat shape with snake motifs; rich dark-brown patina.
Field collected prior to Australian control in 1912
De-accessioned from a private museum (collection number written on shaft)
Private American Collection
Used in the Huon Gulf region including Southern New Britain, Umboi Island and coastal mainland New Guinea, these well-crafted clubs primarily functioned as weapons to remove the forehead from fallen enemies during raids and other conflicts. These clubs were also utilized during initiation ceremonies for mock battles among the participants. Beautiful snake (selam) motifs carved on one side of the clubs attest to these ceremonial purposes. These carved snakes sometimes have heads, human heads, or are abstract in form.