Subject: toa warrior
Setting: tribal warfare, Marquesas Islands early-mid 19thc
Object: u'u club
* Brooklyn Museum > Art of the Pacific Islands
late 18th or early 19th century
U'u clubs were carved from the dense wood of the ironwood tree, then buried in mud and subsequently rubbed with coconut oil until they possessed a dark, glossy finish. The flared heads create a saddlelike contoured top ridge that allowed a resting warrior to tuck the club easily under his arm.
"Throughout Polynesia, where people believe the head is the most sacred part of the body, the head and face are dominant motifs. Rich in sophisticated visual puns, the primary face on the head of each club includes many secondary faces: the pupils and the nose of the main face are themselves self-contained heads, while other faces appear within the horizontal mouth and on the fore-head. Similar faces appear on the reverse of these clubs with only slight variation."
* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Adorning the World: Art of the Marquesas Islands
* National Museum of Scotland > Royal Museum
Wood, sinnet and dog hair ornamented with tiki faces."
* Museum of Fine Arts
Two Clubs (u'u)
These clubs are among the best known works from the Marquesas and have been exported since the eighteenth century. The stylized human face in their upper portion contains two smaller heads indicating its eyes. A third face embellishes the traverse bar. Marquesan men fought with these clubs, displayed them as symbols of prestige, and preserved them as valued heirlooms. Although these clubs are similar, the designs in the relief bands below the bar vary; they may be personal emblems of the man for whom the club was made." ...