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of assembling them and have observed his use of small wedges driven
sharply home from each face in order to make the joint tight before



Io8 CLUB TYPES OF NUCLEAR POLYNESIA.

the anchorage of gum is applied. This spare head and the com-
plete club are attributed to the Gazelle Peninsula in New Britain of the
Bismarck Archipelago, and this attribution is confirmed by Parkinson
(Dreissig Jahre, p. 112, Tafel 8, fig. 9) with the name palau. These
clubs, he comments, are held by the coast-dwellers in association with
magical rites as something old and of a somewhat ahen culture. Their
provenience is assigned to the Baining folk of the mountainous interior,
and in type they look rather toward the Sulka and O Mengen of the
Nakanai coast west of the Gazelle Peninsula, on the north coast of the
island.

In the case of the ball-headed ula we have had to have recourse to
the method of extrapolation in presenting the probabiHty of a source
of the wooden weapon in stone culture. When we take up the wheel
and patterned head-types of ula we have ample confirmation in the
pieces figured in Plate V, figures 13-20. In figures 7-1 2 we present two
of each of these more advanced types in such aspect as will make patent
the essential details. We find a shaft, a head variously worked in two
styles, a ring, and a knob at the distal extremity. The head may very
properly be regarded as metamorphic upon the worked-stone head
which we have just been considering ; the ring and knob are ornament
without sense in the art of the wooden club. In the Baining ^a/ati
(fig. 18) we may readily dissect out the structural detail. The drilled
stone being prepared, the clubwright must mount it upon its handle in
order that it may be made into a weapon of utihty. He prepares a
stick of such diameter as to admit the possibihty of shding the stone
disk over it to a point where it will satisfactorily engage with the wood.
At this point, the distance being governed by the length normal to the
type of club, he carves the stick into a cone attaining a diameter by a
certain amount larger than the perforation of the stone. He sets the
stone home by driving the distal end sharply upon a fixed rock, exactly
as a navvy seats his pick-axe on a handle by utihzing the same princi-
ple. The pick-axe is a utensil of peaceful industry; no harm is done if
the head works loose ; it can readily be reseated with no more serious
result than a brief and never unwelcome loss of time. The club is
intended for uses in which the delay of reseating would obviously be
fatal; accordingly, the head must be anchored with gum, and the germ
of the art sense finds manifestation in the shell or tooth ornamenta-
tion. We see in the Baining palau as a structural necessity the dis-
tal knob, which remains as a conventional ornament in the two ula
species now under conjoint examination; the ring at the point of union
of the distal knob and the head, an element which suggests a narrow
plane surface, most probably types the ring of ornament inserted in
the gum anchor.

At this point, for greater convenience, we shall continue our study
of the clubs in the lowest tier of Plate V. Figure 19, a wooden club



EVOLUTION OF THE CLUB TYPES. I09

deriving from New Caledonia, a region of extensive neolithic culture,
appears in this collection merely as a wooden club, yet the same has
been found in the mountains of that island in use as the shaft upon
which are mounted stone heads of divers forms. Regarded as the
shaft of a stone head this phalloid stick is very significant, for it is at
once evident that if such a spherical and perforated disk as is here
figured were slipped up the shaft to the shoulder at its distal end, and
were then anchored, we should have the ring and knob as a structural
detail of the shaft corresponding with the similar ornament in the two
advanced ula species. In the Malekula club from the southern New
Hebridean culture (fig. 20), we find a wooden implement in which the
shaft exactly corresponds with the Baining palau, and the head shows
highly specialized flanging of ovoid bosses separated by longitudinal
walls. We shall return to this matter of flanging in the club-head.
From New Guinea (probably from the Gulf of Papua and the south
coast to the Louisiades) we have three stone-headed clubs (figs. 14,
15, 16), which fall within a common type. The heads are carved in one
and two and three rows of knobbed or spiked units, at either end of
which the stone continues as a more or less smoothly carved cylinder.
The mounting of these heads is dissimilar from that used by the
Baining. The wooden shaft is far less carefully carved; at the distal
end it is in fact merely roughly whittled, and the stone head might
slip from end to end of the shaft, for there is no enlargement of the
wood which might serve to hold it. At a distance from the end of less
than an inch a woven pattern is set closely about the shaft in leaf and
fiber, extending downward 11, 13, and 14 inches respectively in the
three pieces. Upon this somewhat compressible and resilient bed the
stone head is set after the same manner as in seating the pick-axe.
Without venturing upon a definite determination of the direction in
which the head has been seated, there is ground for the opinion that
in these three clubs the head has been seated in the reverse direction ;
that is to say, it has been passed over the head of the shaft in a down-
ward direction as far as it has been possible by hand to shove it over
the wrapping, and that then the seating has been completed by driving
the haft upon solid rock. Of course it is recognized that this is dynam-
ically improper; that the centrifugal force must tend to loosen the
head; but in these specimens, after their long sojourn in museum
keeping, where they have become desiccated in dry air, the heads are
yet as firm as when driven home in the equatorial humidity of the place
of their origin. The club with the single row of spikes (fig. 16) engages
in head-form with that wooden form from Malekula (fig. 20). In
the development of this theory of club evolution from the stone head
upon the wooden handle to the all-wooden metamorph, a most signi-
ficant article of substantiating proof is found in figure 13. This club,
with six rows of bosses reproduces the type of figures 14 and 15 in the



no CLUB TYPES OF NUCLEAR POLYNESIA.

form of the bosses in the distal and proximal cylinders, yet this piece
is carved out of a single piece of wood, and beyond the distal head
cylinder it reproduces so much of the shaft as in the stone pieces is
found projecting. It was collected in Port Moresby, on the Gulf of
Papua, and proves the existence of the wooden metamorph in the very
region of the stone type.

Reverting to our ttla, we have now to consider the two species of
head and the diversity of treatment of the shaft upon the proximal
side of the head.

The wheel-head consists of a series of longitudinal flanges, in num-
ber 6, 7, 9, and lo respectively, these flanges ovoid in the longitudinal
direction and therein differing from the Malekula club (fig. 20), in
which the ovoid bosses display the major axis transversely. This
detail of ornament found in the 5 wheel-head nla is undoubtedly
continuous into the ornament of the 5 flanged-head rootstock clubs,
as illustrated in Plate V, figures 5 and 6. It will be noticed that
these much larger pieces continue likewise the detail of a distinct
unit of distal projection beyond the flanges. Structurally we have
seen how such a melon-head may be obtained from the root-ball of
the sapling, but mere structural facility does not wholly account for
its existence as a distinct species, whether of ula or of rootstock. It
seems clear that the source is in the stone head, such as we have found
in these New Guinea pieces, in figures 13, 14, and 15; if the work be
stopped after the longitudinal carving has been completed and before
the transverse carving has been begun we should have a stone ante-
cedent of the melon type. This is hypothetical, for we have no
examples of this form in stone. This explanation equally accounts
for the distal projections in both ula and rootstock, but it leaves
unexplained the disappearance in the two wooden forms of the proxi-
mal cylinder. The haft of the wheel-headed ula generally expands
toward the head, a structural detail which entails considerable diffi-
culty. If I am correct in my reading of the direction of the seating
of the stone heads in the New Guinea pieces as from the distal end
toward the handle, we shall dispose of the difficulty so far as it relates
to the passage of the head over an expanded portion of the shaft. We
should then have to prove the existence of a shaft shoulder against
which the head was seated. On the whole, when we observe the fact
that in this species the girth of the shaft on the proximal face of the
head corresponds very closely with the girth of the final knob, we are
better satisfied with the structural detail shown in the Baining palau
and the seating of the club in the direction of centrifugal force. Yet
against this is to be set the fact that in the flanging rootstocks the
girth of the shaft on the proximal face of the head distinctly exceeds
the girth of the final knob. A very interesting variety is observed
in ula 2465, attributed to New Guinea, a provenience which will be



EVOLUTION OF THE CLUB TYPES. Ill

considered specifically with others along the same line. The expan-
sion of the shaft in this piece (Plate VIII, fig. e) consists of artfully
carved flanges alternating with the flanges of the head and providing
a hexagonal section. This alternation of shaft-flanges is observed,
though less carefully executed, in the rootstocks (Plate V, figs. 5 and 6),
3175, 3100, 2482, and 3782 a.

We have seen that metamorphism is clearly recognizable in the iila
of the ball-head ; that with no great difficulty it may be traced through
the wheel-heads. The patterned type can only be regarded as a
secondary evolution after the stone idea has passed from knowledge;
decoration has now overwhelmed structural detail. Yet we find the
retention of a head, which at base is flanged, and of the distal ring and
knob without alteration.

In the discussion of the ula we have included the discussion of the
single unit of the rootstocks (Plate V), which suggests evolution on a
stone-head type. This is the carefully worked distal projection in
the flange-shaped species. In 5 out of the 7 pieces in which the
head is characterized by persistence of the rootlets we find the same
suggestion of distal projection, in certain instances very formally
worked out, this being particularly apparent in figure 3, and in 4 less
completely done. This is not a structural necessity of the timber
source of any of these rootstocks ; it seems to have been carved in the
flanged-head pieces from a stone original, thence to have been extended
to the sapHng motive by unthinking imitation.

We have next to consider the types in which the shaft exhibits a
curve at or near the head. In this group we assemble as to this one
detail the pandanus and the lipped clubs, and therewith we associate
the axe-bit club, although the curve in this case is established rather
through the element to be identified as socket than by the shaft
itself. As has been already noted in the consideration of the sickle
club of Nine, we are to seek the nearest relative of this type in Arossi
of San Cristoval, in the Solomons, and to find more distant kin in
New Guinea. Nine, at the remotest eastern limit of Nuclear Poly-
nesia, may serve to estabhsh for us the fact that a culture of the cur\-ed
club has passed through this province. With this important support
we feel justified in recognizing in the curved shafts of Fiji an inter-
mediate locus of the type.

In the pandanus the critical details are the curve of the shaft in
immediate proximity to the head, the head of several (5 to 8) rows of
rather carefully cut knobs or spines, the distal plate usually w4th a
limiting raised ring, the distal cone. We figure this type in full in
Plate II, figure d, and in head detail of 3 pieces in Plate VI.

Although the head receives in this type such a high degree of detail
as to warrant the Fijians in interpreting it as based upon the motive
of the pandanus compound fruit, which I have already shown to be



112 CLUB TYPES OF NUCLEAR POLYNESIA.

a structural absurdity, it seems to be clearly of the same type as that
which we have examined in the New Guinea group (Plate V, 13 to 16).
Regarding this as a movable addition, we shall try to discover what
remains in the way of shaft after such removal. We find a smoothly
worked shaft of fairly even diameter, except just at the bend, all as
set forth in table 48, where we have pointed out the gradual increment
of an inch at bend and head. This shaft uniformly ends in a plate,
commonly guttered very sUghtly, from which rises a cone generally
of sufficient height to afford a somewhat sharp point. We find in the
Pacific no such cone-headed pieces with a bend, but we do find pieces
in every other respect the same, barring the curve. Parkinson (Tafel
8, figures 7 bau and 10 mukmuk) pictures from the Gazelle Peninsula,
but as probably ferried across the strait from New Ireland, straight
clubs which end in a distal plate and sharp cone, these being straight
from haft to head. He presents from the Sulka and O Mengen (p. 229,
figs. 4 to 7), but probably derived from the mountaineer Baining, clubs
of straight shaft, which end in distal plate and sharp cone, and, this
being a particularly important detail, have carved for some distance
inside the distal plate an an-ay of knobs quite closely resembling the
stone heads from New Guinea. We shall then have to conceive it possi-
ble that the plate-and-cone shaft has been fitted with the stone head,
that in the course of migration the present people of Fiji have acquired
the hockey-stick shaft of Arossi, as seems confirmed by Nine, and
that under this intermediate influence the straight pandanus club of
the Nakanai coast of New Britain, which itself is now an all-wooden
metamorph, has become the curved pandanus totokia of Fiji. In this
case we postulate the secondary evolution when the Fijians have
recognized the similarity to the pandanus-fruit cluster and have carried
it still farther in the botanical detail of nutlets radiant from a common
core (Plate VI, fig. d).

We interrupt the study of the curved clubs in order to complete the
tale of the spiked stone head which we have been following through
various mounts. Two of the maces (Plate III, figs, b and c) are clear
developments of the same head- theme. The larger of these pieces is
of poor workmanship, the other most artfully worked out. They
exhibit a straight shaft, a spinous head with attachments distal and
proximal. In the larger piece these are represented by merely whittled
cone attachments, but in the smaller we find the end capped by a
neatly worked plate sHghtly domed and at the proximal end of the head
a small circlet of fighter spines in a contrary spiral. The distal plate
or cone we can readily interpret as a finial of the wooden shaft
intended to prevent the stone head from slipping off in that direction.
It appears probable that the proximal attachment represents some
arrangement of sennit lashing of or gum ; we have seen each material
employed to this end, devised to hold the head secure upon the shaft



EVOLUTION OF THE CLUB TYPES. II3

as against slip toward the haft. In the smaller piece it is apparent
that the minor spikes are pure ornament, despite their sharpness, for
they could not engage with the object already torn by the larger head.
The other pieces classed among the maces are scarcely to be inter-
preted as metamorphs of this particular stone-head unit and will
accordingly be examined in connection with another theme.

Recurring to the clubs of curved shaft, we take up the hpped clubs
(Plate II, figs, g, h, and i; Plate VI, figs, a, b, and c). There are
5 distinctive units of this type, 2 common and unalterable, 3 exhibit-
ing such variety as to constitute specific differences. The unalterable
imits are the curve of the shaft and the blade-like prominence on the
face of the head along the line of its major axis and in the direction
of the downward stroke of the weapon when in use.

Regarding the actual head of the weapon as beginning at the prox-
imal end of the panel, there is some shght variety in the angular
dimensions of this curve. In the species in which we find the rough-
need panel the curve is sharp and very nearly corresponds to the
general curve of the pandanus clubs. In the species with panel of
rugosity the curve is more obtuse; it corresponds with the general
curve of the axe-bit clubs. In these two species, however, the curve
distinctly springs from the beginning of the panel; the shaft to that
point is quite straight. The third species is far more ornate, distinctly
a work of art, therefore in a stage of secondary evolution from the
prototype. The outer curve on the Hp-face of the shaft is far more
obtuse; the upper curve along the panel is appreciably more acute
than this outer curve and approximates the outer curve of the next
preceding species; the inner curve of the lower edge is yet more acute
and proceeds from a gradual increase of the girth of the shaft, which
arises insensibly in the general girth and produces a fine sweep from
the grip to the outer edge of the head.

No matter what the species of this club, the blade-like prominence
is found along the median hne of the head from its lower tip to the
upper edge. This, we note, is wholly regardless of such treatment of
the head as we are to regard as structural survdval; it will prove an
inconvenient factor in our interpretation of the type, and we shall
be forced to the assumption that the clubwrights have lost the sense
of its specific origin and have treated it as a convention. This very
significant blade is distinctly visible in all our illustrations, except
figure g in Plate II and figure a in Plate VI.

The three variable units are the lip, the panel, and the rib.

I can not regard the variety of the lip as critical. It expresses in all
species ahke a purpose subsisting from the hypothetical prototype, in
which it served an indubitable structural end. The three varieties of lip
correspond to the general facies of each species. In the club with rough
panel the lip partakes of the tendency toward the expression of cylin-



114 CLUB TYPES OF NUCLEAR POLYNESIA.

drical motive with smooth curves; in the club with rugose panels the
lip conforms to the heavier type and finds expression in rather wide
triangular form approximating the equilateral; in the decorated clubs
of the third species the lip expresses with great grace the motive of
strength through vertical dimension and apparent lightness by reduc-
tion of the transverse dimension.

The variety of the panel likewise seems lacking in critical value. We
find in two species — that with roughened panel and the decorated type
— the panel ending up-shaft with a clearly expressed line of demarca-
tion, except that in 2474 this detail is a trifle obscured. In the species
with rugose panel the rugosity slowly merges in the smoothness of the
shaft with no distinct demarcation.

The carved rib thrown across the angle of lip and head is constant in
all of the simpler pieces of the roughened panel, is entirely absent from
the pieces of rugose panel, and is present in 2 out of the 5 decorated
pieces. Apparently this presents a gradual process of elimination as
we progress away from the prototype.

In my interpretation of all these elements in their combination as we
find them in these pieces, the key to the solution of the problem lies in
the blade-like prominence on the face of the head.

In position it represents the axe-mounting rather than the adze. I
note at once the objection that in Polynesian culture we do not identify
the axe ; the adze is the universal mount for the blade of wood-chopping
utensils. Against this objection I set the fact that in the consideration
of the other metamorphs we have drawn freely upon stone prototypes
which yet remain in use in Melanesia, and we have drawn thus freely
upon this source because of our recognition of the fact, already satis-
factorily established through linguistic methods, that Polynesian migra-
tion of the Proto-Samoan wave of folk-movement which is originally
responsible for the peopUng of Nuclear Polynesia has been drawn down
the Melanesian island chains from Indonesia along each aspect of New
Guinea by way of the Bismarck Archipelago and Torres Straits
respectively. In northern Melanesia of the Bismarck Archipelago
and its northern island outliers, in all parts of New Guinea, we not only
find the adze and the axe, but we have every intermediate stage, and
these are very handsomely represented in the museum collections.

As between the adze and the axe in these Melanesian cultures there
is no difference in the blade itself. It is either a stone worked down to
a thickness of some 2 inches, pointed at one end and regularly widening
toward the blade of from 4 to 6 inches, which is slightly convex away
from the point, and is rubbed down to an edge either on one or on both
faces ; or else it is a similarly shaped cutting from the shell of the great
mollusc of those seas, the Chama (Tridacna) gigas.

Two types of axe-mounting are observed. In one the end of the
wooden shaft is perforated and the blade is shoved home through the



EVOLUTION OF THE CLUB TYPES. II5

perforation at an angle which may vary from the right angle with the
general extent of the shaft to a very considerable cant in the outward
direction. Considering the end of the utensil in this type of mounting,
we find four points which call for notice. Two pertain to the wood of
the shaft ; proximally a certain note is made in shape or in ornament to
set apart the function of the extremity; distally we are under struc-
tural necessity of a certain projection of shaft beyond the blade-
socket. The other two pertain to the blade. On the upper edge of
the shaft the pointed end of the blade extends for some distance beyond
the wood and becomes a noteworthy character; on the lower edge we
find the blade tending to approximate the distal projection of the
shaft, according as the angle of setting diverges from the right angle.
In the second setting a subsidiary mounting of the blade is carved in
the form of a hollow cone into which either of these blades is jammed
and held securely lashed by ties of sennit or rattan. This subsidiary
mounting may then be thrust through a perforation of the shaft, but
this is the far less usual form by reason of the fact that a perforation
large enough to accommodate the wooden mount would call for such
an increase in the size of the shaft as to make the implement quite
unwieldy. ISIore commonly this subsidiary mount is lashed to the
distal end of a shaft, either naturally crotched or scooped out to afford
a practicable bearing. As the former mount tends away from the
right angle with the shaft in the distal direction, this mount, on the
other hand, tends away in the proximal direction. In each of these
mounts we have been able to trace the progress from that in which
the cutting-edge lies athwart the shaft to that in which it Ues in the
direction of its length ; that is to say, from the adze or primitive type
we progress in a constant series of angular diversity to the axe.

In the critical details of the lipped clubs we seem to recognize certain
of the features of each of these axe-mounts of the stone or shell blade
in a combination which would not be possible to workmen who re-
tained a clear impression of the prototype.

Thus the lip and head extension would stand for the upper projec-
tion of the blade and the necessary extension of the shaft in order to
give support to the perforation. But in that case we should look for
the cutting-edge on the lower side of the shaft in projection of the
forward face of the lip.

Again, when we direct our attention primarily upon the lower units
of the club, the blade, the head, and the panel, we recognize the sub-
sidiary mounting in which the blade is either set within a hollowed
frame or is set between slabs of wood which allow no more than the
edge to protrude and give their support to the remainder of the blade,
which is fragile in its length. We have found no simple mount in
which the generally distal angle of the blade relative to shaft has pro-
gressed so far as to give a mount wholly in the line of the extent of the


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Online LibraryWilliam ChurchillClub types of nuclear Polynesia → online text (page 13 of 21)