rai (Axe)

About this object

History of use

Used in ceremonial context, in festivals and ceremonies. Held at shoulder height by men in dances. Traditionally also part of ceremonial exchange nexus, e.g., as exchange objects in bride-wealth. No longer have this function.

Cultural context


Physical description

Axe (t-shaped, mount Hagen type). Flat head of green-grey stone which projects 21 cm. from the handle, 10 cm. wide. Head balanced by projection of black palm wood 25 cm. long, flattened oval in cross-section, 3 cm. wide, with a narrow raised ridge around circumference 5.5 cm. from the end. Handle of black palm wood, and balancing projection coated with a black substance. Three components are bound together with heavy rattan.