Club, wahaika form
This is a whalebone variant of the wahaika ‘billhook’ form of club, differing from 186 in its broader blade, ‘sinus’ indent and straight butt terminal. The treatment of the lateral ﬁgure is notable for the regular three-toed feet and the triple projections which extend from the forearms.
Whales were not hunted by the New Zealand Maori, but bones and teeth from stranded specimens were used for making weapons and ornaments. These materials became increasingly available after the arrival of European whalers and traders towards the end of the eighteenth century. This club is comparatively thin and appears to have been carved from a whale’s jaw bone or shoulder blade.
Despite the acquisition of ﬁrearms by the Maori in the early nineteenth century, indigenous short and long weapons continued to be used in inter-cultural and anti-colonial combat until the 1860s. Thereafter, clubs were made for sale or exhibition purposes and tended to be clumsy and elaborately carved over the entire surface of the blade (see Hamilton, 896: pl. XXXIII for several examples).
Steven Hooper, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 13.
Acquired by the Sainsbury Family in 1949. Donated to the Sainsbury Centre, University of East Anglia in 1973 as part of the original gift.
Title/Description: Club, wahaika form
Born: 1800 - 1850
Object Type: Club
Measurements: l. 432 x h. 125 x d. 14 mm
Accession Number: 185
Historic Period: 19th century - Early
Cultural Group: Māori
Credit Line: Donated by Robert and Lisa Sainsbury, 1973