Throwing club (ula)

Fiji
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist unknown, Pacific Islander, Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander


Object Place: Fiji

Dimensions

Overall: 42 x 8 cm (16 9/16 x 3 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2749

Medium or Technique

Wood (nokonoko?)

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Arms and armor

The Fijian archipelago is comprised of over 300 islands that span 850 kilometers of ocean. Combat amongst the Fijians was particularly prevalent and wars were a driving force behind the social and economic life of Fijian chiefdoms. War clubs were particularly privileged amongst the Fijians and each type of club, which could take years to make, was made for a specific purpose. Clubs were important as both weapons of war and sacred objects. In addition to being an effective weapon, 19th century drawings indicate that this type of throwing club (ula) may have been housed in village temples (bure kalou) and used to mark the place where the ancestors would come down to Earth.

Provenance

1981, sold by Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, MA to Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart