Exceptional Paddle Club, Tonga Islands

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Lot 16
Exceptional Paddle Club, Tonga Islands

Sold for US$ 43,750 inc. premium
Exceptional Paddle Club, Tonga Islands
'akau tau
Wood
length 39 7/8in (112cm)

Provenance
George Vason (1772-1838), author of An Authentic Narrative of Four Years' Residence at Tongataboo, published in 1816. Vason landed on Tongatapu in 1797 as part of the first expedition of the London Missionary Society.
Thence by descent through the Vason family, Northern Ireland
Craig Finch, London
Mark and Carolyn Blackburn, Honolulu, Hawaii

Published
Kaeppler, Adrienne, Polynesia: The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, 2010, fig. 182

According to Adrienne Kaeppler, "Tongan clubs were the most numerous type of artifacts collected on Cook's voyages. Quite a number can be located, but many have lost their association with Cook's voyages. More than 50 clubs from the Leverian Museum alone have lost their association with the voyages and are unidentified today. Because they are so numerous, Tongan clubs are particularly useful for studies of change in the short period between Cook's second and third voyage. At a reception for Cook in Ha'apai, club fighting was apparently used for entertainment." (Artificial Curiosities, Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978, p. 238)

This superbly stone-carved paddle club is completely decorated on both sides with finely-incised decorations; depicted are eleven figures of men holding clubs, or carrying clubs and other items, four circles, four birds and other unusual motifs including one representing a human face; fine rich, dark-brown patina.
Contacts
Exceptional Paddle Club, Tonga Islands
Exceptional Paddle Club, Tonga Islands
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