The Marquesans were the original settlers of the Hawaiian Islands, arrived in the era from 300 to 600 AD. Myths about these voyages say that they were guided by sea turtles.
This contemporary replica of a ceremonial paddle evolved from a clever multi-purpose club, called a Kape Kape, that could be used as a club or spear, and also as a steering paddle. Kape means to parry or ward off, and to paddle, veering to one side. The spear point is in the shape of a turtle head. Turtles, because they live on the land and in the sea, symbolize the connection between the human and the spirit world, and are considered a vehicle for summoning ancestral spirits. The carved face, prevalent in Marquesan art, is considered the site of a person’s mana (spiritual power).
As the culture became more settled, battles were replaced with formal dueling ceremonies, elaborate forms of dance in which weapons were brandished as objects of status and strength. This carving is an enlarged replica.
Carved from Pacific Rosewood (Thespecia populnea). The trees were regarded as sacred in Polyneisan culture and were traditionally planted in special groves and used for religious sculpture.
60"H x 13"W x 4.5"D
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