rai (Axe)

About this object

History of use

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

Cultural context

ceremonial

Physical description

Axe (t-shaped, mount Hagen type). Flat head (part b) of black stone projects 20 cm. from the handle, curving towards the working edge, tapering towards handle. Blade balanced by projection of wood extending 16 cm. from the handle, 3 cm. wide, flattened oval in cross-section, with narrow raised ridge around circumference 2 cm. from the end. Projection partially coated with grey clay. Handle (part a) of wood is a flattened oval in cross-section, tapered to the end. Components bound together with binding of heavy rattan. Head is loose.