Maori Hand Club - New Zealand

Known as patu onewa, this paddle-like club is a classic Maori weapon form. Sharing a close likeness to their iconic greenstone counterparts (mere pounamu), patu onewa are carved of basalt. Carefully smoothed to a narrow plane using natural abrasives, the blade of this hand club could land thrusting blows against an opponent with deadly speed. The small hole near the handsomely elaborated pommel was a typical feature of one-handed Maori weapons, used to secure a wrist cord. The smooth lines and unadorned, charcoal grey surface of this weapon, along with its meticulous manufacture, come together as a strikingly beautiful piece of minimalist stonecraft.

First half of 19th century
L: 14 in W: 4 in

Rick Gallagher, New York

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