Maori Taiaha – Quater-Staff Club

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New Zealand, 19th century 

A Maori  Taiaha,  typical of 18th and 19th-century examples, with the pointed end taking the form of a carved tongue projecting from an open mouth.

Height 148.00cm (58.27 inches)

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SKU: 3747 Category:

Description

Captain Cook first went to Tahiti, Joseph Banks collected a similar weapon to the Taiha, it was longer and instead of the ornamented head, it ended in a spike. It was originally used on the fighting platforms of double-headed war canoes. The Taiaha it is believed developed from this origin. Sticking out the tongue was a Maori challenge to enemies and the form of this spear is taken directly from this behaviour.

The Taiaha Janus head is inspired by human and bird features, both sides mirroring the other. The staff is a single body but with two heads one facing forward, the other backward. These ornamented clubs were probably not used in battle but were used as a status symbol by chiefs. Adorning the chief with ornamented objects separated him from the other warriors and gave a hierarchy in their culture as marks of rank.

Additional information

Weight 5.9 kg
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