Carved wooden knife, painted black with shell inlay of three circles on each side of handle.
CH classification HANDCRAFTS Carving wood carving
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander dagger
CH classification DOMESTIC EQUIPMENT Food & Drink Consumption Cutlery knife
CH classification ARMS & ARMOUR Edged weapons knife ~ dagger
L225 x W20 x H7 mm
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 carved knife was made by a patient at a leprosy hostipal on Malaita in the 1950s. Patients made objects such as plaques and wooden knives to sell to tourists as their primary source of income.