Wealth Axe Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea
|Size||Height 88cm x 54cm width|
This fine old and used ceremonially Wealth Axe is from the Massim Culture in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. This beautiful old Presentation or Wealth Axe was made solely to show off the Stone Axe Head which is a type of important traditional wealth.
This Wealth Axe was used in the complex Kula trading circle that built life time trading partners & commitments between a large groups of small islands in the Milne Bay Province .
Carved from a single piece of hardwood in a elegant form , the handle has a round butt with pierced holes and the rounded finial at the top is finely incised with bird designs, the stone is secured bush fibre rope and the whole object is in good original condition with an old crusty brown patina. The Wealth Axe dates from the early 20th Century though the stone might be much older.
Kula valuables traded purely for purposes of enhancing one’s social status and prestige. Carefully prescribed customs and traditions surround the ceremonies that accompany the exchanges which establish strong, ideally lifelong relationships between the exchange parties (karayta’u, “partners”). The act of giving is a display of the greatness of the giver, accompanied by shows of exaggerated modesty in which the value of what is given is actively played down. Such a partnership involves strong mutual obligations such as hospitality, protection and assistance. Kula valuables never remain for long in the hands of the recipients; rather, they must be passed on to other partners within a certain amount of time, thus constantly circling around the ring. However, even temporary possession brings prestige and status. Important chiefs can have hundreds of partners while less significant participants may only have fewer than a dozen.
Provenance: Ex John Freide Collection New York. His collection known as the JOLIKA Collection most of which is now in the collection of The De Young Fine Art Museum in San Francisco.
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