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(Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale - Live Online, 31st March 2021)

A Maori mere pounamu hand club

A Maori mere pounamu hand club,
probably 18th/19th century, New Zealand, made from kawakawa pounamu, of typical spatulate form, the grooved butt with a single eyelet,
11.3cm at widest
38.2cm long

A similar example, named 'Amokura', can be found in the Museum of New Zealand collection, registration number ME011850.

Mere are a specific type of hand-to-hand weapon of the New Zealand Maori, typically made from a variety of nephrite jade called pounamu, or 'greenstone', found on the South Island, and particularly significant within Maori culture. They are symbolic of chieftainship and are said to possess special spiritual qualities. Their significance was such that each specific club had to be hewn from a flawless specimen of pounamu, and was rigorously carved and subsequently polished using combinations of stone, sand and water. Once completed, which, because of its toughness as well as the meticulous and arduous method of manufacture, sometimes took more than one generation, each piece was given a name and passed down through families as treasured heirlooms. As well as having immense familial significance, in a functional capacity, they were incredibly efficient and deadly in combat; it is claimed that, when used by a skilled warrior, a quick flick of the wrist could decapitate a man. It was a great honour to be killed by particularly significant mere pounamu, and some accounts mention captured warriors relinquishing their own mere to their captors so that they would not be executed with any ordinary weapon. The present example is made from kawaka pounamu, which is the most common variety of pounamu, identifiable by the numerous black flecks that run through the stone.

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£1,000 - £1,500

Buyer's premium: 30.00% (inclusive of VAT, where applicable)

Condition report

Broken and repaired in several places to the tip, with one approximately 1.5 x 1.5cm piece appearing to be associated. A sizeable loss to the butt, which is a well worn break. Some tiny chips to edges. Surface wear and scratches. General wear throughout.

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The auction details are as follows:

Auction: Fine Interiors - Two Day Sale - Live Online, 31st March 2021

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