Extremely Rare Maori Short Club, New Zealand
Lot 184
Extremely Rare Maori Short Club, New Zealand
Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Extremely Rare Maori Short Club, New Zealand Extremely Rare Maori Short Club, New Zealand
Lot Details
Extremely Rare Maori Short Club, New Zealand
mere pounamu
Greenstone/Nephrite jade
length 13 3/4in (35cm)

PROVENANCE
John Hewett, London
Mathias Komor, New York, New York, ca. 1960
Harvey Sorkin, New York, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner

For a similar and only other known example with a manaia head carved at the butt, see Starzecka, et al., The Maori Collections of the British Museum, The British Museum Press, 2010: fig. 747, acquired in 1907; also illustrated in Hooper, Pacific Encounters, 2006: fig. 82.

Hooper (ibid.) comments: "A rare nephrite club (mere pounamu) with a head carved at the butt, this example is made from an especially attractive piece of stone [very similar to the mere presented here]. Short clubs (generally known as patu) were both insignia of male warrior status and weapons (see illustrations). They were carried in the belt and had a short wristcord to prevent loss in combat. Nephrite was the most highly valued material in New Zealand, obtained from remote parts of the South Island. Raw stone and finished artefacts moved between groups via exchange relationships or as war trophies; objects made of nephrite were and are classified as great valuables (taonga).

This exceptional mere has elegant curved lines, a suspension hole showing extensive wear and, as mentioned above, a intricately carved manaia head at the butt, all skillfully stone-carved from a nephrite stone with light green veins, further enhancing the works overall aesthetic.

While the origin and development of the manaia in Maori art is uncertain, three interpretations of its symbolism are: a serpent; an anthropomorph, developed from the conventional human figure with the face in profile; and, the most widely held view, a 'bird-headed man.' (Archey, Gilbert, Evolution of Certain Maori Carving Patterns, The Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 42, No. 3(167) (September, 1933), pp. 171-190.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this lot should read: PROVENANCE John Hewett, London Mathias Komor, New York, New York, ca. 1960 Harvey Sorkin, New York, New York Acquired from the above by the present owner
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