Impressive Maori wooden fighting long staff (Taiaha), New Zeland. Carved and engraved hardwood and haliotis shell inlay. Taiaha, finely carved from hard wood, one end carved in the shape of a head (upoko) with a face on each side, a tongue (arero), with double spirals, double parallel grooves and dog-tooth pattern notches, protrudes from the mouth and forms the front blade, the body (tinana) provides the grip with a flat, smooth striking blade (rau); fine, glossy reddish-brown patina “Along with the patu the late Classic Maori also carried a weapon of the quarterstaff type, wielded with both hands in a variety of thrusts, parries and feints. The most common was the taiaha, one end flattened to a narrow blade, the other carved as a distorted double-face head, the point representing a tongue issuing forth in the typical Maori gesture of defiance.” (Phelps, 1976: p 31). Approx L167cm. PROVENANCE John Magers Collection, Sydney.
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