Old War Club Pentecost Island Vanuatu 19th Century
This beautiful old Club is from Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. Carved from a single of hardwood into an elegant elongated leaf form. The is an upraised medial ridge from the tip of the club to the start of the handle and an unusual section of carving that would almost certainly have a specific meaning known only by the old men who owned them.
The conical-shaped butt is wrapped with a human hair string undoubtedly so your hand won’t slip when sweat.
In my opinion, this is the most beautiful shaped club out of the many types made in Vanuatu, even in comparison to other Pacific Islands Club types it stands out aesthetically.
I went to Pentecost Island to see the ” Land Divers ” in 1987, this ceremonial diving off a huge tower with vine ropes attached to your ankles is part of the initiation into a secret men’s society where over one’s lifetime you can keep obtaining a higher grade in the secret society. Each Island in Vanuatu has its own graded secret societies.
During the Land Diving ceremony, there were old men dancing & signing & carrying very old clubs, I asked about the old club’s and none of them were for sale, these are important ceremonial objects of prestige & were family heirlooms. I saw mostly the domed shaped clubs with nobs but none of this rarer type listed here.
The club dates from the late 19th Century and it has a deep old patina from long handling. The club is in very good shape for its age and there are no restorations. The club was likely collected in the late 19th Century which means the club could be significantly older.
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic and Vanuatu Art
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