94
94

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION

Hawaiian 'Knuckleduster' Weapon, Hawaiian Islands
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT
94

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION

Hawaiian 'Knuckleduster' Weapon, Hawaiian Islands
Estimate
100,000150,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art

|
New York

Hawaiian 'Knuckleduster' Weapon, Hawaiian Islands
"Hawaii 19 370" painted in black pigment on one side.
Length: 8 1/4 inches (21 cm)
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Charles Ashby (1793-1855; owner of a private museum), Staines, Middlesex, United Kingdom
Curtis Museum, Alton
James T. Hooper, Arundel (inv. no. "370"), acquired from the above in 1930
Christie's, London, Hawaiian and Maori Art from the James Hooper Collection, June 21, 1977, lot 149
Wayne Heathcote, London 
Masco Collection, Detroit, acquired from the above
Sotheby's, New York, November 16, 2001, lot 275
Private American Collection, acquired at the above auction with the assistance of Lance Entwistle, London

Exhibited

The Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth, Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, September 24, 1994 - May 5, 1996; additional venues:
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, February 2 - March 26, 1995
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, June 11 - August 6, 1995
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, March 9 - May 5, 1996

Literature

Steven Phelps, Art and Artifacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas: The James Hooper Collection, London, 1976, p. 82, pl. 370 and p. 418
Charles W. Mack, Polynesian Art at Auction: 1965-1980, Northboro, 1982, p. 59, pl. 15, no. 4
Allen Wardwell, Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, Detroit, 1995, p. 249, cat. 99d

Catalogue Note

Blending timeless elegance of design with merciless efficiency on the battlefield, Hawaiian knuckledusters were made for man-to-man combat and are the epitome of Polynesian weaponry from the pre-Captain Cook period. The offered lot, previously in the celebrated Oceanic art collection of the Masco Corporation, Detroit, the core of which is now housed at LACMA, Los Angeles, is one of the finest examples known.

In his discussion of the offered lot at the occasion of the travelling exhibition Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, Wardwell (1994: 246 and 248) notes: "Weapons of this type are popularly known as knuckledusters. They were gripped by the hand and used in punching motions in a manner similar to that of brass knuckles. [... The offered lot features the] common form of knuckleduster, with a row of teeth running around the entire perimeter and pegged into place. All other known examples, however, have [all] the teeth pointing downwards [i.e., as if the object were mirrored at the vertical center. Compared to this convention, the offered lot] is unique in having [all] the teeth facing in one direction (Mack 1982, p. 58). The beveled edges on the outside of the grip are also unusual, as is the large number of sixteen teeth. The six such weapons recorded by Peter Buck (1957, p. 459), for example, have only eight or ten."

African, Oceanic & Pre-Columbian Art

|
New York