Carved wooden knife with handle in style of European naval cutlass. Incised decoration in narrow strips across blade
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander
CH classification DOMESTIC EQUIPMENT Food Preparation knife
L. 480mm, W. 90mm
History and use
This object is from the Helen Barrett collection, which was donated to Queensland Museum in 2014. Miss Helen Barrett worked as a nurse with the Australian Board of Mission in Solomon Islands from 1947 until 1984. Barrett was based at Tasia in Isabel Province, and Maravovo on Guadalcanal before being stationed at the Hospital of the Epiphany at Fauabu, Malaita. She was at Fauabu from 1968 until 1984. In the 1990s, Barrett worked with the Mothers Union in the Torres Strait Islands. Her collection largely comprises of objects that were presented as gifts over the course of her missionary work in Melanesia.
This usual piece is cutlass-style sword club, most likely made in the Trobriand Islands. The carving was presented to Miss Barrett as a farewell gift on her departure from Solomon Islands in 1984, but probably dates to several decades earlier.