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A Fine Old Micronesian Shark Teeth Knife From the Gilbert Islands Republic of Kiribati Micronesia

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Collection No. TB-431
Size 56cm without stand
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New Guinea & Oceanic Art
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Australia Aboriginal Bark Painting

A Fine Old Micronesian Shark Teeth Knife From the Gilbert Islands Republic of Kiribati Micronesia Dating from the 19th Century 

This fine old Sharks Teeth Sword is of the most elegant curved form, the razor-sharp teeth were set in grooves carved into the wood and the teeth were further stabilized with fibre cord that was lashed through each pierced tooth.

This type of knife was just one type of weapon that was made & used by the warriors as part of ‘ceremonial warfare’ performances, the maintenance of honour, and the settling of disputes in ritual dueling. It wasn’t just the knives that were used in these contexts, however, as they only formed a small part of a warrior’s combat ensemble. A warrior wore a complete set of armour, made from thickly woven coconut fibre and a belt of stingray skin, and a helmet created from a hollowed-out and dried puffer fish. See the historical photo of these warriors dressed for battle

As with many Micronesian and Polynesian cultures, sharks played an important cultural role for the people, sharks are involved in the origin mythology of the islands and they played a major part in cult initiation ceremonies. Using part of the great creatures in a weapon would imbue it with some of the shark’s strength.

Over the past 40 years, I have owned a few of these Shark Teeth Weapons but this was always my favorited due to the elegant form and obvious age patina. It is missing a couple of teeth but it does not detract from the beauty of its sculptural form.

Provenance: The BL Hornshaw (1878-1937) Collection of Oceanic Art & The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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