Lot 104
  • 104

Maori Long Club, New Zealand

6,000 - 9,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • haliotis iris, wood
  • Length: 77 1/8 in (196 cm)


Volks Museum, Pretoria, deaccessioned in 1987
Private Collection, acquired from the above

Catalogue Note

The taiaha was the most widely favored of the three types of two-handed long clubs used by Maori. The pointed end is in the form of a carved tongue sticking out from an open mouth. This gesture was "a ritualized challenge given by Maori warriors, and thus the form of the weapon is connected to one of its aggressive functions" (Hooper, Pacific Encounters: Art and Divinity in Polynesia, 1760-1860, London, 2006, p. 141).

This taiaha has a ripple-like surface which accentuates the beautiful grain, or kakano, of the wood. Augustus Hamilton wrote that "in an old specimen, the surface of the weapon [...] has a peculiar ripple-like feel, caused by the scraping or smoothing of the surface with the edge of a shell or some similar cutting edge." (Hamilton, The Art Workmanship of the Maori Race in New Zealand, Wellington, 1896, p. 177).