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Collection

An image of Ceremonial axe by

Minj, Anglimp-South Waghi District, Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea

Title
Ceremonial axe
Other titles:
Presentation axe
Place of origin
MinjAnglimp-South Waghi DistrictJiwaka ProvincePapua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Wahgi people
Year
early 20th century
collected 1940
Media categories
Ceremonial object, Arms & armour
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 (19"); handle length

0 - Whole; 61 cm (24"); across top of axe

0 - Whole; 25.5 cm (10 1/16"); slate blade

Credit
Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978
Accession number
311.1978
Copyright
© Wahgi people, under the endorsement of PIMA's 'Code of Ethics'
Location
Temporary exhibitions gallery
Further information

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

Bibliography (2)

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

Exhibition history (1)

Plumes and pearlshells: art of the New Guinea highlands, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 May 2014–10 Aug 2014