Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands

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Lot 287
Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands

Sold for US$ 56,325 inc. premium
Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands
u'u
length 60 1/4in (153cm)

Provenance
Richard I.M. Kelton Collection, Marina del Rey, California

According to Carol Ivory (personal communication), clubs such as this one are called 'u'u, and were a Marquesan warrior's most prized possession. They served as both a weapon in close combat and as a mark of high status within society. They are made from ironwood (Casuarina equisetifolia), also called toa by the Marquesans, a dense, heavy, hard wood. The clubs were buried in the mud of taro fields, then polished with coconut oil, to give them a rich, dark patina. Strands of braided sennit, with human hair attached, were wrapped around the handle area. The hair was usually that of relatives. They were designed with a curved notch on the top edge so that the warrior could put it under his arm and lean on it. As a result, they vary in size, between 4.5 and 5 feet, depending on the height of the owner."

Superbly carved, most likely without the use of metal tools, with the arched head carved with a mask at the apex on both sides above a double arched, bifurcated concave panel with two small tiki heads doubling as eyes within radiant halos above a transverse process with projecting flanges, centered by a third tiki head, the finely incised lower collar section decorated with classical Marquesan motifs and a mask, tapering to a cylindrical shaft with flared butt and bound with finely woven fiber with tufts of ancestral hair attached.
Contacts
Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands
Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands
Chief's Club, Marquesas Islands
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