Model Club, Marquesas Islands
length 45.5in (115.6cm)
Leo and Lillian Fortess, Honolulu
Cf. Greub, Suzanne, Gauguin Polynesia, Art Centre Basel, 2011, fig. 129, 130 & 131 for similar model clubs from the late 19th century.
"By the end of the 19th century the Marquesans sensed their world falling apart. The islands were the first or last port of call facing the American continent. Through they offered limited riches, these mountainous islands became a destination for an ever-increasing number of foreign visitors, ao'e, some of whom came to end their days. Gauguin was one of these, and became a witness to change...
Gauguin commented on this in relation to the ukikana, and the fact it was no longer being made. The central motif, including six tiki within a circle and extending fishhooks, was, however, being carved of the heads of late 19th and early 20th-century model wooden clubs made for sale to interested travellers. Though they no longer had much in common with the original weapon, in their imagery persisted the idea of the fatal blow that satisfied the need for vengeance." (Greum, 2011: p. 136.)