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    Description

    SAMOA, Western Polynesia
    War Club

    Wood

    A monoxylous carving from one piece of hard, dense wood, the traditional Samoan "Lapalapa" fighting club is actually a skeuomorph in hard wood of an original form derived from a coconut palm leaf stalk. The club's striking end was the large base of the original palm leaf where it joined the palm trunk, while the tapered club handle was originally the leaf midrib, to which the leaflets were attached. Many "Lapalapa" handles end in a lug pierced for the passage of a cord made of sennit (woven or braided coconut husk fiber cordage). In cross-section, the club head looks like a compressed lozenge, with a raised midrib on each side that tapers down to opposed sharp edges. The end in the classic form is flat, set at a right angle to the club length.

    The classic form was collected by Captain Cook on one of his late 18th century voyages of discovery in the Pacific: the form of the 18th century "Lapalapa" club echoes that of the present example. It is thought that the classic form itself developed from an earlier wood version strengthened with added zones of tightly-wrapped sennit cord. The later classic form rendered the sennit wrappings as raised decorative zones in the monoxylous version.

    Still later 19th century versions of the "Lapalapa" fighting club were probably carved with metal tools; they show exaggerations of classic details, such as V-shaped club ends and elongated, tooth-like edges of the raised zones of sennit bindings made possible with the advent of metal tools traded from Europeans. The decoration is embellished with the addition of several tiny anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures carved in shallow relief.

    Provenance:
    Peter Natan Gallery, Denver, CO

    Height: 41 ¾ inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 650

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