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Ceremonial axe

early 20th century
collected 1940


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Presentation axe
    Place where the work was made
    Minj Anglimp-South Waghi District Jiwaka Province Papua New Guinea
    Cultural origin
    Wahgi people
    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
    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

    Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Wahgi people, under the endorsement of PIMA's 'Code of Ethics'

    Reproduction requests

  • 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

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications