Totokia beaked battle hammer
Fiji, early 19th century
Length: 94 cm
Provenance: James Hooper collection, Arundel, Sussex, no 900
De Backer collection, Belgium, sold Christie's, London, Melanesian and Polynesian Art from the James Hooper Collection, June 19th, 1979, lot 84
A totoika with beaked head, an unadorned shaft with a carved 'basketweave' grip, carved by a Maori artist in the North Island style. Although the carving was done in the 1830s-40s, the club itself might be older than the 1830s.
Totoika are often referred to as ‘pineapple' clubs, which is a misnomer; the shape is modelled on the fruit of the Pandanus Palm. The beak was designed to pierce the skulls of adversaries.
On the flat base, inscribed in white ink, is an antique stock number; H900/OPFS.