RARE 18TH CENTURY PRE-CONTACT TONGAN APA'APAI WAR CLUB W/ TOP GLYPHS

Origin: Western Polynesia, Tonga   (Provenance: Collection of Michael Hommer, Conventry West Midlands England, by descent through the family.)

Period/Date:  18th Century, Pre-Contact

Materials:  Casuarina ironwood, or similar species. 

Description:  Apa'Apai war clubs with glyphs carved on the top are scarce.  The last one I know of sold in December 2005 at Christies Paris (lot 57) and brought 51,500 euros.  This beautiful example was craved with nonmetal tools using a rat tooth to achieve its fine tight design.  It features a broad flared diamond shaped head with 6 deeply carved glyphs including four birds, a moon and a sun.  There are 21 glyphs in total spanning its length and faceted sides.  They include three different types of birds (birds eating fish, birds with long split tails? (top region) and birds with curved tails.  Note that the bird glyphs on the top could also be interpreted as human figures "transforming" into birds or ascending? There is a single human figure about 9 inches down from the top, located on the side with birds eating fish.  The classic figure is isolated among the other many panels of geometric compartmental designs which makes it very prominent.  This club has a terrific patina and rich color from long use.  Its surface is smooth to the touch and shows significant wear and use.  The club is very heavy and has emanates strong mana.  There are a number of small dings and minor chips as might be expected on a 250 year old artifact.

Dimensions:   Length 35.5"  (90.5 cm), Width 4.75"  (12 cm)

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