A Polynesian ironwood Gata waka or war club
Fiji, probably 18th century
H. 97 cm
Private collection, France
This particular club has a deep beautiful almost black patina and is of eye-pleasing proportions. One damage to the lip and one (original and old) restoration.
Polynesian culture is traditionally a culture of power and prestige, and there was a fine line between battle and ceremony. Warrior people par excellence, the Fijians had at their disposal a large panoply of weapons, each for a specific use.
The elegant Gata are called gun-sticks by Europeans due to their recognizable form. However, they are designed after a snake, gata in the Fijian language.
We are grateful to our dear friend Mr. Peter van Drumpt for his assistance with this text.