REF: E0021

A Rare Papua New Guinea Ceremonial Axe, Southern Highlands, Mount Hagen Region

  • A Rare Papua New Guinea Ceremonial Axe, Southern Highlands, Mount Hagen Region


    A rare Papua New Guinea ceremonial axe from the Mount Hagen region in the Southern Highlands, showing a hand shaped and hand polished grey-green stone having a finely sculpted edge, secured with intricately plaited rattan binding at one end, with a similarly shaped and bound axe head shaped counterweight at the opposing end, both affixed to a tapering wood handle. These axes were very highly prized possessions, often taking up to six months to make and polish the stone, and an equal amount of time to fashion the fine rattan cane-work used in lashing the blade and counter weight. Consequently these were intended primarily for ceremonial dances, but were also used for barter as well as for marriage gifts. Dimensions noted as illustrated: 25” high x 29.5” long x 2” deep.


    Provenance: Purchased by direct descent from the family of Dr. George P. Holland, a noted Entomologist and former Director of The Entomology Research Institute with the Canadian Department of Agriculture, who obtained this and other indigenous artefacts while on a 5 month scientific research expedition to Papua New Guinea in 1957.
    Dr. Holland was also awarded the distinction of Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada

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