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Currently shown

U’u Club

Location

FRENCH POLYNESIA, MARQUESAS ISLANDS, possibly NUKU HIVA

Culture

Te ‘Enana

Title

U’u Club

Date

Early 19th c.

Materials

Wood

Dimensions

150 x 18.1 x 11.5 cm

Credits

Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1948.Pc.7

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

In the Marquesas Islands, u’u clubs were the weapons of warriors. They also served as symbols of authority for chiefs. Decorated with similar, but never identical, designs, they are reminiscent of Marquesan tattoos. The many carved faces represent deities (atuas) to increase the warrior’s spiritual power (mana). The disproportionate eyes convey the protective power of the atuas, who had the ability to see in all directions. Known to Europeans since the late eighteenth century as a result of the voyages of Captain Cook, many examples of this type of object were collected in the nineteenth century. Over 280 u’u clubs have now been catalogued.

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