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Digging stick

Digging stick

Place: New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
Category: Tools

wood, Vanuatu, l. 158 cm, d. 3.5 cm, Inv. Oz 1286

Forster Register A. 17: ‘3 long sticks, 3 short [sticks], 3 pipes from the island of Tanna’

The digging stick consists of a dark-brown, relatively heavy wood (Casuarina equisetifolia), which may also originally have been very hard, the patina of which even today shines like varnish. The upper end is round in cross-section for about 15 cm, followed by a transition to an elliptical cross-section. For the last 20 to 25 cm, the elliptical cross-section is flattened out on both sides, so that at the lower end, the form becomes that of a blunt table knife.

Due to a still firmly adhering and clearly visible ‘F.’ label, there is no doubt that this piece can be attributed to the Forster Collection. With considerable certainty, the stick can be identified as one of the ‘3 long sticks’ of lot A. 17. The provenance ‘Tanna’ should also be correct in this case. Volker Harms