Polynesia, Fiji Islands, ca. 19th century CE. A finely-carved wooden throwing club known as an ula kitu (also i ula kitu) with a compressed spherical head, a thick cylindrical handle, and a rounded butt end with a drilled suspension hole for the rope loop. Carved on the head is a depiction of the skull and crossbones, a classic symbol of pirates in the 16th and 17th centuries, filled with thick white pigment which has darkened with age, with the words "Faint, Hope, Charity" written above in black ink. Clubs like this example were meant to be hung on one's belt and hurled at one's enemy. Size: 4.375" W x 17.5" H (11.1 cm x 44.4 cm); 21.9" H (55.6 cm) on included custom stand.
A stylistically-similar example with no skull and crossbones hammered for $4,000 at Bonhams, Los Angeles "Embodiments of Power and Prestige: Exceptional Tribal Arms, Armor, and Textiles From A Private European Collection" auction (May 22, 2018, lot 24): https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24946/lot/24/
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection; ex-Leo Fleischmann collection
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