Lot 1
  • 1

Throwing Club, Fiji

7,000 - 10,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Sperm Whale Ivory & Bone, Tridacna Shell Bead (Tiny Tube Form)
  • Height: 15 1/2 in (39.5 cm)
I Ula Tavatava Vonotabua


Stolper's Antiques, Nyack, New York
Marshall Mount, New York, acquired from the above in 1951
Acquired by the present owner from the above

Catalogue Note

Fergus Clunie (1977: 60) notes: "One to three throwing clubs were worn in the warrior's waistband, often at the back, being thrust through his girdle like a brace of pistols, of which they were roughly the Fijian equivalent; being essentially a close range projectile weapon carried in addition to a heavier weapon, ready to hand as the situation demanded."

Throwing clubs, i ula, were invariably made of a single piece of wood, usually an uprooted shrub. The present lot is an i ula tavatava, the form identifiable by its "elegant fluted head" (loc. cit.). The club is inlaid with shell and ornaments fashioned from sperm whale teeth. These marine ivory inlays were prestigious trade items from Tonga, and were also set into the magnificent civavonovono breastplates worn by Fijian chiefs. The presence of such inlays here is a sign that this club has achieved great status and mana, a power and life force of its own.