Lot: 26

Club "u'u"

Marquesas Islands

Provenance Size Hammer price
Johann F. Gustav Umlauff, Hamburg, Germany
Ernst von Sieglin (1848-1927), Stuttgart, Germany
Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany (1905)
Ludwig Bretschneider, Munich, Germany (1969)
Munich Private Collection
L: 57.1 inch 100000 EUR

iron wood (Casuarina equisetifolia) - called "toa", handwritten inventory no. "49655. Markesas. E. v. Sieglin", rest.

According to U. Menter, the Linden-Museum received this "u'u" club in 1905 as a gift from the patron Ernst von Sieglin, who gave the museum an extensive collection acquired from J. F. G. Umlauff. The club was given to Ludwig Bretschneider in exchange on 21 May 1969.

The eyes and nose of this striking bi-faced club are formed by "tiki" heads. The upper section of the shaft is decorated with accurately carved geometric ornamentation, into which another face is integrated.

These massive heavy clubs were used for both fighting and prestige displays, and in some cases were kept as trophies of victorious encounters.

Carved by specialists, the clubs were comissioned at a high cost. Once completed, they were finely sanded with sharkskin and placed in the mud of a taro patch for curing and blackening. Afterwards the club was regularly rubbed and polished with scented coconut oil, wich produced a lacquer-like finish.


Kaeppler, Adrienne, Polynesia, Honolulu 2010, p. 297, ill. 317 f. Conru, Kevin (ed.), Polynesian Art, Brussels 2023, p. 170 ff.