Offered by: Tishu
By appointment only Atlanta, GA 30327 , United States Call Seller 305.400.0561


Carved Wood Māori Wahaika Club New Zeland

$ 3,600
  • Description
    A wood club known as Wahaika intricately carved and inlayed with small round shells from New Zealand circa 1920s. The hand-hold club was traditionally used as a close-range combat weapon before the European contact by Māori people, indigenous natives to the islands. It was used in as staff in ceremonies.
    The surface of this particular wood Wahaika features deep relief carving of linear scrolling triple haehae and dog tooth pattern in between. The haehae pattern curved into homomorphic mirrored imagery on both the front and back. Strategic placement of shell inlays highlights the eyes. The small figure clinging to the side above the handle may represent the supernatural power (mana) of the weapon. The handle is in the form of another head with shell inlay, likely represents the aggression of its owner. The thin edge was carved with arrowheads alternating with inlays.
    Examining the Wahaika club, it does not appear that it was a natively used piece collected from the field, due to the lack of specific patina. However, it was a fine example. The surface was superbly carved and decorated and show age. Early Wahaika tends to be simple with mostly smooth surface, from 1880s on, the intricate carving increasingly covers the surface augmented sometimes with shell inlays. The carving bears the styl3600 of Rotorua school. It is possibly that the club was made during the depression era (1920-30s) by a member of the first Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, established by Sir Apirana Ngata, in Rotorua in 1926. It was likely sold as souvenir to the early tourists.
    For a similar Wahaika, see D23.708 in the collection of Tuhura Otago Museum in Dunedin, New Zealand.
  • More Information
    Origin: New Zealand
    Period: 1920-1949
    Materials: wood and shell
    Condition: Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Fine condition overall, no missing shell inlays. Overall surface patina and wear with small nicks on edges. A stable old crack line on one side of the handle as shown.
    Creation Date: 1920-30s
    Styles / Movements: Tribal, Traditional
    Patterns: Geometric, Handmade, Traditional
    Incollect Reference #: 694689
  • Dimensions
    W. 5.5 in; H. 14 in; D. 0.75 in;
    W. 13.97 cm; H. 35.56 cm; D. 1.91 cm;
Message from Seller:

Our collection ranges from Neolithic Art to 20th century collectible art and design. It spans 5000 thousand years of history and crosses many civilizations and cultures. Our aesthetic strongholds are Mid-century studio design, Japanese and Korean art, Asian Textile Art and Contemporary Aboriginal Art. The diversity is united behind our singular vision to seek for timeless beauty and driven purely by our passion

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