Ceremonial Paddle

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Fine, chip-carved patterns cover the blades and shafts of Austral Islands ceremonial paddles. Squatting human figures carved around the butt are called tiki tiki tangata, meaning man-gods. The shafts of early paddles are usually round in cross-section; 19th-century examples are sometimes square. The function of the intricately carved Austral Islands paddles is uncertain. They may have been displayed on ceremonial occasions, such as dances, pageants, ancestral rituals, or inaugurations.
Ceremonial Paddle

Ceremonial Paddle


Polynesia, Ra'ivavae, Austral Islands, 18th-19th Century

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