Fine Ceremonial Hafted Adze, Mangaia Island, Cook Islands
Wood, stone, coconut fiber sennit
length 23 3/4in (60cm)
Bengt Danielsson, Pape'ete
Mark and Carolyn Blackburn, Honolulu, Hawaii
Kaeppler, Adrienne, Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art, University of Hawa'i' Press, Honolulu, 2010, fig. 417
On Mangaian adzes, Phelps writes (1976: p. 131), "Most woodwork was done with their unadorned counterparts composed of a basalt blade lashed with plaited coir to a wood handle. Blades were of various types according to island and period of manufacture but at the turn of the nineteenth century the reversed triangular-section type was most popular, those from Mangaia being highly prized for their fine finish. The lashings, both on working and on ceremonial adzes, were extremely skillfully applied...Adzes were made by experts (ta'unga) trained to the task, by pecking rough basalt and laboriously grinding with a lump of wetted coral. This craft soon ceased after missionary contact, when hoop iron, hatchets and nails became available."