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Place: New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
Category: War

wood, Vanuatu, l. 115 cm, Inv. Oz 1217

Forster Register A. 8: ‘8 shorter [bows] made of brown wood’

Roughly in the centre of this 2.6 cm wide bow, the spot where a label had originally been stuck on is still quite clearly visible. An imprint of the typical ‘F.’ is still recognisable. The Register of the Forster South Seas Items lists the following objects under the section heading ‘A. Weapons’ with the consecutive numbers 7) and 8) as follows: ‘7) a long bow, made of black wood, from New Zealand. 8) 8 shorter [bows] made of brown wood.’ A precise attribution of these objects is not possible based on these entries, especially because the listing of New Zealand under 7) is certainly incorrect (cf. the bows Oz 1218 and Oz 1258). Because the bow described here is made of brown wood and is also not very long, it is probably one of the ‘8 shorter [bows]’. A regional classification, however, can only be hypothetical. In all probability, it comes from one of the New Hebridean islands, because G. Forster (1983: 727-821) in particular repeatedly mentioned that he and his father had acquired a large number of arrows, bows and other weapons there. The form of the bow most clearly resembles those described by Speiser (1923: 210 ff.). Volker Harms


Forster, Georg, Reise um die Welt, [1778/1780], hrsg. v. Gerhard Steiner, Taschenbuchausgabe, Frankfurt a. M, 1983.

Speiser, Felix, Ethnographische Materialien aus den Neuen Hebriden und den Banks-Inseln, Berlin, 1923.

Related artefacts

Bow (s-shaped bow), Inv. 1218
Bow, Inv. Oz 1258
Bow, Inv. Oz 1262


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