Dagger, Hawaiian Islands
Wood, olona fiber
length 29in (73.7cm)
Private Collection, Germany
This ancient and finely stone-and-shell-carved pahoa is from a hard wood with alternating light and dark-brown "tiger" striping, the blunt handle pierced through for attachment of original olona cord. It displays wear indicative of significant age and use.
According to Buck (1957: p. 424), "Cook (1784, vol. 2, p. 247), with his wide experience in the Pacific area from two previous voyages, remarked on the peculiarity of the fact that only Hawaiians had a dagger. "...They have a sort of weapon which we had never seen before, and not mentioned by any navigator, as used by the natives of the South Sea. It was somewhat like a dagger; in general, about a foot and a half long, sharpened at on or both ends, and secured to the hand by a string. Its use is to stab in close fight; and it seems well adapted to the purpose."