Dancing stick- bal. Burnt wooden stick with etched designs. Red and white paper streamers attached with sticky tape
INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander dance ornament
L730 x Dia 26 mm
Wood, paper, sticky tape.
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 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 dance stick, or bal, is made from light, soft wood that has been blackened and the designs etched into the wood. Usually such sticks have pieces of calico or cockatoo feathers attached but this example has been modified with strips of coloured paper. This set of dance sticks were kept by the donor and used in Brisbane by visiting dancers from Solomon Islands.