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Place: New Hebrides (Vanuatu)
Category: War

wood, Vanuatu, l. 163 cm, Inv. Oz 1285

Forster Register A. 10 or 11 or 17: ‘10) 20 throwing or shooting arrows, 11) 15 ditto (or) ... 17) 3 long sticks, 3 short [sticks], 3 pipes from the island of Tanna’

The spear has been very carefully carved and smoothed from a reddish-brown hardwood. It has a varnish-like patina (from repeated rubbing with coconut oil). The rear part is round in cross-section and here becomes narrower toward the end than in the middle section, where the cross-section becomes slightly oval. Towards the point, the form becomes increasingly flat on both sides so that a slightly oval cross-section results in the foremost part. The point has broken off, and directly behind it a c. 12 cm long strip has also splintered off on one of the flat sides. The spear is also slightly curved.

There is no doubt that the spear belongs to the Forster Collection, because of the typical ‘F.’ label, only minimally damaged, still adhering to it. The regional classification has been taken from the Register of the Forster Collection. However, the same reservation holds true for this object as for the piece Oz 1283, because the spear described here could also be attributed to lot 10) or 11) of the Register.

A similar spear is still to be found in Stockholm (Kaeppler 1978a: 250).


Kaeppler, Adrienne L, ‘Artificial Curiosities’ Being An Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook RN [Exhibition catalogue], Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978a.

Related artefacts

Spear, Inv. Oz 1283


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