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A very old and superbly marked Fijian Ula Tavatava
An old 18th/19th Century Ula 'blooded' Tavatava. Used as a throwing weapon by Fijian warriors to bring down the enemy. Almost black in colour, L42cm. Very old patina with over 140 ‘Dil’ on shaft some forming intricate lines and groups and 106 forming two large circles on the head. Often thought to be ’ kill’ marks. However as Baron Von Hügel states in ‘The Fiji Journals of Baron Von Hügel 1875-77’ (1990 Note 15 page 462) he was informed that the notches ‘ registered the time elapsing after a death, when mourning feasts and ceremonies took place'. These dots signified particulary signified the amount of nights passed.
Kill notches were deeper not in long lines. I believe there are around such 'kill' notches on the shaft.
Ex UK Collection