Large and Rare Kanak Ritual Digging Stick, New Caledonia
Lot 100
Large and Rare Kanak Ritual Digging Stick, New Caledonia
Sold for US$ 2,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Large and Rare Kanak Ritual Digging Stick, New Caledonia Large and Rare Kanak Ritual Digging Stick, New Caledonia
Lot Details
Large and Rare Kanak Ritual Digging Stick, New Caledonia
Wood
length 73 1/2in (186.7cm)

PROVENANCE
Private Collection, France
Acquired from the above by the present owner

'Inland settlements cultivated several varieties of bananas, yams, and taro using elaborate irrigation methods. Yams were, and still are, considered "noble" and were used in ceremonial exchanges in the past. It was the yam's annual cycle that established the rhythm of the Kanak year. Fishing was a regular activity for settlements by the sea and on riverbanks. In the forest Kanaks gathered fruit, nuts, and palm-tree buds. Captain Cook introduced pigs and dogs to the islands and other Europeans introduced a variety of plant and animal species including deer, which the Ajië now hunt in the forest. Colonization affected Kanak agriculture dramatically. Lands were confiscated by settlers, gardens were ravaged by marauding cattle, and irrigation networks were destroyed by miners. The fallow period was shortened, which led to erosion and a diminished productive capacity. Subsistence crops gave way to cash crops such as coffee, which the Ajië began producing as early as 1900 and which remains an important source of income. Yams are the only crop that has offered some resistance to the overall regression of Kanak subsistence agriculture. A powerful mining and metallurgical industry coexists with agriculture in New Caledonia. In addition, tertiary activities have expanded quickly in keeping with the territory's highly developed private and public sectors. One of the major nickel and cobalt centers on the east coast was opened near the Ajië's territory in 1901, and although agriculture, fishing, and forestry are still the major employers, mining is a close second, followed by public service.' (Everyculture.com, WEB, nd)
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