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Old 22nd February 2018, 01:05 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 53
Default old plain faced maori taiaha for discussion please

This maori taiaha which I have just acquired has a plain face , I have read articles that they were an unfinished project or the carver had been killed before finishing the work ,the point I have is that this taiaha looks like its been very well handled and very well used as it shows such good patination and wear ,and so therefore was carved as a plain face and used like this ?
also this taiaha has several very small holes down one side and all the holes in the sames direction ,straight out the side ,could these of been used for feathers maybe ?
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Last edited by chiefheadknocker : 22nd February 2018 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 23rd February 2018, 08:37 PM   #2
colin henshaw
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A nice piece. I've seen and handled a few similar without the detailed carving ... it could be for the reasons you mention or perhaps just that without the carving was a particular style preferred by some Maori ?

I havn't seen holes to the edge of blade before, and would presume they were for attachment of feathers or streamers of some type, as was done with the tewhatewha weapon.

For further information you could perhaps enquire with the relevant curator of one of the New Zealand museums (with a set of images etc).
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Old 28th February 2018, 08:52 PM   #3
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Location: CSA Consulate, Rm. 101, Glos. UK: p.s. - Real Dogs Have Feathering.
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I recall reading about a tribe of maori on outlying islands that preferred plainly carved taiaha like that. The holes could be for feathers, flax fibre, or dog hair bundles which were normally near the tiki face. as colin says, this was not usual for taiaha, tho a feather bundle was common on the 'blade' of a tewhatewha, tied thru a hole. some patu also show holes for bundles. The tiaha generally had theirs wrapped around and cord wrapped to hold them in place. If the holes are on the striking blade, i doubt they were for feathers or hair bundles.

or added later by some nasty museum 'curator' to tie it in a display. do you have a photo of the whole weapon? The actual striking end of the taiaha (the blade part - the carved 'spear' point was not normally used to stab with). i also attach A copy of a photo of mine for further illustration (both are around 1.5 metres).

aha! found it. try reading thru

the chatham islands are mentioned for plainer taiaha.
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Last edited by kronckew : 28th February 2018 at 09:51 PM.
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