Lot: 19

"Patu wahaika"

Nouvelle-Zélande, Maori

Provenance Taille Adjugé
Rudolf Leopold, Vienna, Austria H: 32 cm Vendu

wood, shell inlay,

A "patu wahaika" is a type of traditional Maori hand weapon used for thrusting and striking in close-quarter, hand-to-hand fighting and an important status symbol of high-ranking men.

The corpus of the present example is decorated with particularly elaborate and filigree traditional ornaments and is carved with an ancestral figure along the inside curve.

The "wahaika" is a short spatulate weapon. The outer edges were sharply ground like a blade. On the other side just above the handle the concave tip above the carved humanoid figure was the primary striking edge, particularly used against the opponent's temples, face, and ribs.

"Patu wahaika" were used in battle, but also in speeches and ceremony to accentuate the delivery of a particular point where Rangitira wanted people to pay attention. They were also said to have been used for ritual dances, where they were swayed to and fro in sham battles.