Skip to content

Collection

All

Search

Pacific art

View More:


Title

Ceremonial axe


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

The Mt Hagen battleaxes are the finest yet seen in New Guinea ... Most of them are made in the villages of Gumbigai and Mangarvigar in the Manginbor area, where the stone for the blades is quarried. Their heads are a blue or grey stone of fine texture, beautifully ground and polished. The blade is well housed in a wooden cavity, set in the same plane as the handle and counterbalanced by a piece of wood … set immediately behind and beautifully carved and decorated with fibre chains and fur … It is carried in the bark belt with the handle between the belt and the body and the head and counterpoise resting on the upper edge of the belt. When ready for action the axe is carried above the shoulder in an alert position with the hand near the blade.

Ernest Chinnery, Government Anthropologist, Mandated Territory of New Guinea, 1934


Details


Other Title

Presentation axe


Cultural origin

Wahgi people


Dates

early 20th century
collected 1940


Materials used

grey-green stone, wood handle, carved wood blade, woven split-vine binding


Dimensions

63 x 50 x 5.5 cm overall; blade 25.5 x 11.2 x 1.9 cm :

0 - Whole; 48.3 cm; handle length

0 - Whole; 61 cm; across top of axe

0 - Whole; 25.5 cm; slate blade


Credit

Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978


Location

Not on display


Accession number

311.1978



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 54. cat.no. H150

Natalie Wilson (Editor), Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Sydney, 2014, 88 (colour illus.), 160. cat.no. 31