Lot: 41

101st Auction

Shark-tooth sword

Kiribati - Gilbert Islands

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Hellmut Patzer, Silesia, Poland (acquired in the 1st half of the 20th century) L: 21.7 inch 1800 EUR
plus 27 % commission, VAT, transport and insurance

wood, four parts, shark teeth (approx. 120 pieces, some damaged or missing), fine woven twine from coconut fibre ("te koro"),

In earlier times, these weapons were used by opposing clans in battle. For protection, fighters wore strong but cumbersome armour of coconut fibre, a belt of stingray skin, and a helmet created from a hollowed out and dried puffer fish.

These swords were also used as part of "ceremonial warfare" performances, the maintenance of honour and the settling of disputes in ritual duelling.