Baton

Production date
1880-1902
Country
Solomon Islands
State/Province
Malaita
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Object Detail


Description
Baton-Assassins, WARI HAU, stone (iron pyrites) head, wood shaft inlaid with nautilus shell cutouts set in a black parinarium paste to form a geometric pattern, head lashed with plant fibre strips
Classification
CH classification COSTUME Ceremonial (other)
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander
Maker
Production place
Measurements
L500 x W37 x H39 mm
Media/Materials description
Wood, plant fibre, shell, resin
History and use
Wari Hau ceremonial staffs are sometimes referred to assassin's batons, as they were worn by men who had killed. The batons would be hung from a cord around the neck and displayed on the bearer's back.

This baton was collected by Peter Tornaros, a recruiter and captain on labour trade vessels from 1893 to 1902. These vessels brought Pacific Islanders, predominantly from Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, to Australia as a cheap form of labour for the Australian sugar industry.
Registration number
E549.1

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