Malaitan War Club, Solomon Islands
Late 19th century early 20th century
Malaita is one the most populous island of the Solomon Islands on the Pacific Ocean.
Malaitans war clubs are usually made of tooa, a reddish hardwood. Most finished clubs are submerged in mud (saltwater or fresh) for about a month, during which time they acquire a glossy black finish.
Incised designs are filled with white lime or the ground powder from a white stone called foulafu. This is done temporary and before social gathering.
Alafolo (or Afui) are anthropomorphic clubs. Blows are struck with both edges of the club, not the nose. Sizes ranges from under 90 cm to 120 cm in length.
There are different designs for the eyes of the Alafolos, the most common being laa’engari, they are often incised. Some Alafolo have a design representing a butterfly proboscis on the handle. The carved base of the handle (googou) may be incised also. A hole may be drilled on either side of the nose in which are inserted leaves (Lycopodium fern) that are used for protection against sorcery.