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Monstrance axe

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1000667Monstrance axeWhether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe », this object is a symbol of power and prestige. It was reserved to New Caledonian village chiefs – or Great Elders – and was used during certain ceremonies.Monstrance axeWhether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe...Zoom http://www.museum-lehavre.fr/sites/default/files/styles/exposition_portrait/public/multimedia/2012.2.1_gb01225.jpg?itok=-lfwY6ibGuillaume Boutigny

Monstrance axe

 

  • Origin : New Caledonia, Melanesia, Pacific Ocean

  • Materials : serpentine, wood, coconut shell, bat hairs, vegetable fibres, seashells, tapa (barkcloth)

  • Dimensions : height : 49 cm (stone : 18 cm ; foot : 12 cm)

  • Inventory number : 2012.2.1

  • Collected by Louis Le Mescam ; donated to the City of Le Havre, 1895

 

Whether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe », this object is a symbol of power and prestige. It was reserved to New Caledonian village chiefs – or Great Elders –  and was used during certain ceremonies.

 

The polished serpentine disk is luminous when aimed at the sun. The wooden stick is covered with bat hairs, which are untied, since ties represent death in New Caledonian culture (ties are associated with fishing nets, and the sea is considered to be the world of the death) . The foot is made of half a coconut shell covered with barkcloth and laces on which seashells are attached. During certain ceremonies, these axes were used to invoke rain, by symbolically « hitting » the sun.

 

This axe is characterised by its remarkable carved ornamental figure, the quality of its weaving, and the finesse of its gem.

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