Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand

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Lot 121
Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand

Sold for US$ 18,750 inc. premium
Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand
wahaika rākau
wood
length 12 1/2in (32cm)

Finely stone carved in classic form in diminutive proportions with a tiki face on the butt of the handle and an exquisitely carved tiki figure with arching back and other curvilinear designs on the edge near the top of the handle, pierced through for attachment of cordage; fine varied, reddish and dark-brown patina with wear and contoured shape of the blade indicative of significant age from most likely the 18th century or earlier.

PROVENANCE
Found in a provincial flea market in France
Gerard Wahl Boyer, Paris
Paul Renaud Auctions, Paris, 1982
Patrick Mestdagh, Brussels
Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection, Honolulu, Hawaii

PUBLISHED
Kaeppler, Adrienne, Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian Art, University of Hawa'i' Press, Honolulu, 2010, fig. 494

According to Roger Neich (personal communication with Blackburn, June 1, 2009), "It is certainly very very old and has to be eighteenth century - all the signs of great age are there. With this age, I suppose North Auckland is more probably (sic) simply since this was the main area where the early Europeans were mostly. It is certainly a beauty."

According to Charles Mack (Wardwell 1994, p. 218), 'This form of short club with the broad tongue-shaped blade is unique to New Zealand. Its name, wahaika, is literally translated as "fish mouth", a reference to the shape of the blade. Such clubs were used for combat and in dances, during which they were brandished in mock battles. In battle, they were employed in thrusting and jabbing motions, the end, not the sides, being the part that inflicted damage. They were also important elements of chiefly regalia that were carried in the belt when not held in the hand. Most have a human head carved below the handle [as in the present work] and a small reclining figure just above the handle on the inside of the blade [as in the present work]. Both of these figures represent mythological ancestors.' (Simmons 1984, p. 188, no. 45). The hole at the base was for attachment of flax suspension cord that was looped around the wrist.
Contacts
Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand
Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand
Fine and Rare Maori Hand Club, New Zealand
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