A Rare New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago Carved Hardwood Dance Club

A Rare New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago Carved Hardwood Dance Club

1800 to 1900 New Britain

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A Rare New Britain, Bismarck Archipelago Carved Hardwood Dance Club
A Fibre binding to one end entwined with numerous small seashells
Smooth and silky old patina

Size: 130cm long – 51¼ ins high
Provenance: Ex English Private collection
cf Edge Partington section 1, page 248, no. 2.
New Britain is the largest of all the Islands in the Bismarck Archipelago. Named by Carteret in 1767 the area has had continuous contact with Europeans since the English explorer and buccaneer William Dampier’s visit in 1700. Whaling ships and traders visited the Island throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and in recent times New Britain was of strategic importance during the 2nd World War.
In New Britain nassa camelus shells were used as currency. They were threaded in their thousands through holes pierced in their backs onto long lengths of rattan or plaited fibre and then stored until needed when they would be presented in large rolls.
The inhabitants of the Gazelle Peninsula known as the Gunantuna (Tolai) people were known for their well-made war clubs and this dance club has possibly been made by them.

Stock Code
F072
Medium
wood, shells and twine
Finch & Co

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