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Old 3rd December 2017, 02:03 PM   #1
Tim Simmons
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Thumbs up PNG sword club

Just as I thought I was giving up collecting I acquired this smashing piece. 51 inches long and diamond section hard smooth palm wood and quite heavy for a sword club. Do you ever really stop or just start again? It came with auction notes of having origins in the Mambare river region. If you have researched PNG sword clubs you can see that there is a subtle difference from region to region. Looking from the Sepik to Massim region you will find Mambare south east of the Sepik and north of Collingwood bay and the Massim region. sword club from these region are much the same form but with subtle differences in finish and decoration. The handle end seems to be the most noticeable area of region. I will try to illustrate this over time. Here is the club and supporting photo from the net. Not so keen on the chaps wife. Sorry about the pink but the ironing board seem like a good back drop.
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Last edited by Robert : 5th December 2017 at 01:55 AM. Reason: Referencing items that are to be offered at auction is against forum policy.
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Old 3rd December 2017, 05:37 PM   #2
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Very nice piece Tim, congratulations. But are you sure its not Amazonian ?
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Old 4th December 2017, 02:53 PM   #3
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It was sent to from AUS. It was part of an AUS collection auctioned with some bows and very large paddle. The paddle was clearly PNG. The bows were not obviously PNG. The auction described the items as being collected on the Mambare River. You have to take auction descriptions at time with a pinch of salt. Lots can come to them mixed and they cannot be expert at every thing and may have to take a vendors general ideas for what they are. I think they were right but saying that, just because it can from AUS does not mean all items hail from that part of the world. Take for example this Amazon club which came to me from AUS.
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Old 6th February 2018, 10:48 PM   #4
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could i see some closeup pictures of this club?
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Old 7th February 2018, 09:44 AM   #5
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Close up pics. This is PNG. Colin was only giving a bit of banter when he suggested Amazon, I think. I can show Amazon clubs made from South American black palm. So far I believe there is only one species of black palm in South America.
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Old 7th February 2018, 10:33 AM   #6
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Here is the South American black palm. The structure is quite different. The clay/lime inlay is found from South America to Oceania and Australasia.
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Old 7th February 2018, 02:31 PM   #7
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I believe there some species that are a lot more similar to your png palmwood, i have some "souvenir" items that have the same kind of wood (not suggesting yours is a souvenir or from the Amazon!!!) ill post them when i get home.

I also believe i have seen the "flower"patterns on some massim war clubs before.
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Old 7th February 2018, 03:18 PM   #8
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To tell the truth all our collections are souvenirs. However that is quite different from tourist trade souvenirs.
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Old 7th February 2018, 08:22 PM   #9
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camera was acting up a bit.. but i think you can see it... the lighter area is the back of the spear i am holding.
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Old 8th February 2018, 08:51 AM   #10
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Here is a palm wood club but it does not appear to be the same as the "black" palm wood having a similar structure as the examples you show. A quick research the species of black palm is Astrocaryum standleyanum. The black palm in this link is the same as the black club illustrated earlier.

https://www.woodshopnews.com/news/q...ines-black-palm
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Last edited by Tim Simmons : 8th February 2018 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 19th February 2018, 02:08 AM   #11
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I've made things out of palm wood... what I've seen is the outer part is darker and harder and the inner part lighter and more pithy/crumbly I think...

many older examples of clubs, bows, etc all use the dark outer part if possible, many tourist oriented bows and clubs have plenty of the "whiter" part.

I have two bows, possibly both made by Yanomamo, but one is older and was clearly made for hunting and the bow is stronger and is mostly black palmwood, and the other is weaker, and have lots of the inner light streaks
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