Oceanic Fijian Carved Vest Hardwood Gata or Snake War Club ‘Kiakavo’

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Object Description

An Oceanic Fijian Carved Vest Hardwood Gata or Snake War Club ‘Kiakavo’
Of distinctive spur form a panel of carving to the handle with an old drilled hole for a wrist thong
Fine smooth glossy patina
Early 19th Century

Size: 101cm long – 39¾ ins long

Object Literature

The heavy two-handed war club was the favourite weapon of the Fijian warrior and consequently one of the most widely used on the battlefield. The cutting edge is formed by the converging cheeks which were designed to cut through and snap bone. Various different types of clubs were designed to inflict different types of injuries. They were made with elaborate surface designs by many different craftsmen who put far more attention into their manufacture than was necessary for their required purpose, but the clubs were symbolic embodiments of power and status as well as practical deliverers of destruction. It is said that the spur on these clubs represents the gaping jaws of a striking ‘gata’ or Pacific Boa snake of the ‘Eugyrus’ species.

Object Details

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