Axe - ROM2004_947_1

ROM2004_947_1

Axe

Maker: New Guinea Highlands
Medium:Wood, cane, slate
Geography: Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea
Date: 20th century
Dimensions:
75 cm
Object number: 953.197.A
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. L.A. Learmonth
On view
Gallery Location:Shreyas and Mina Ajmera Gallery of Africa, the Americas and Asia-Pacific
DescriptionCeremonial axe with elaborate and decorative designs woven on the haft with orchid vine or rattan fibres. Some of the designs have specific meanings. The blade is finely polished, which indicates its ceremonial use during "sing-sing" (sing-and-dance cultural events) or "moka" exchanges.
Due to the thinness of the blade, these axes were and still are valuable items of wealth, and were only carried or worn on the belt by men on festive occasions. Women mourning the death of their husbands would chop off a finger using such axes. They were also bartered for shells, salt and other needs, or negotiated as part of a bride-price.
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