Club porowa ra maru
Kanak people, New Caledonia
Mid 19th Century
The distinctively shaped porowa ra maru, or “bird head” clubs of New Caledonia were prestigious objects created for use by Chiefs. The club symbolized wealth and high rank and could have been used in ceremonies of exchange between Kanak clans.
Some scholars have suggested that the image instead represents the head of a sea turtle with its projecting, beaklike, mouth.
The thin, delicate tips of the beaks are extremely fragile and the present one has an old chip which I think doesn't distract as is ancient and only visible from one side.
Contrary to many, the present club has great age, as attested by the "melted"wear on the handle and a deep, glossy patina throughout. The club comes from a French estate and sits on a dynamic base by Romain Laforêt. I chose a photo from Allan Hughan, dating from around 1870-1880, to illustrate a similar one in use.
H: 71 cm (28 inches)
Price : 1800 euros enquiry