Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Lee 18th May 2019 01:50 PM

New Guinea axe
4 Attachment(s)
I am once again back from the Brimfield flea market - a lot of slogging through mud this year - again with something that caught my eye in the stall of a dealer who usually has something of interest for me to trudge home with.

This year's item is a wood hafted axe with a polished stone celt of very dark green schist of a type mined from the area of Mt. Hagen. From what I read on the internet, this example is a work axe, or di, as opposed to the better known ceremonial axes.

The hand-shaped haft is about 35 inches (89 cm) long and weighs 1218 grams (2.7 lbs). A fairly roughly cut tapering perforation holds the celt loosely (at this point in time). The stone celt weighs 1627 grams (3.6 lbs) and is 11 inches (28.8 cm) long with a thickness of 1 inches (3.9 cm) and a width of 3.4 inches (8.6 cm).

What struck me at first sight was the similarity with earlier Danish Neolithic flint axes and their hafting. I suppose this must reflect form following function. I gather that such axes can be very effective tools for harvesting and working timber, though the manner of use is of necessity much different.

There is interesting information on the Danish axes on the
National Museum website

drac2k 9th February 2020 04:08 AM

I was doing some research on another item and I found an example much like yours. They stated that it was a very old ax from "New Guinea, The Highlands, found in a Dani Village in the Baliem Valley."

Tim Simmons 10th February 2020 04:03 PM

I always wanted one of this style.

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