About this object

A taiaha (long club/fighting staff) with one end (the head) carved in the shape of a tongue with a human face on either side of the shaft below it, the other end is a smooth blade. The surface decoration on the tongue is double spirals formed by haehae (parallel grooves) and ridges with pakati (dog's-tooth notches). Three eyes are shell-inlaid. There are two round holes through the shaft, one near each end, off-centre. The tip of the tongue is broken.

The taiaha is a double-handed weapon used for striking with the blade, or stabbing with the tongue end, which is carved protruding from the mouth in the Maori gesture of defiance

Object specifics

  • Type
    Weapon
  • Culture
    Maori
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Wood; Abalone (Haliotis sp); Technique: Carved, inlaid
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Date collected
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Measurements
    8.0 x 3.5 x 148.2 cm
  • Related people

Where is this object from?

Ownership

Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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