Maori Whalebone Club (patu), New Zealand

Price on Request

The present patu, carved from a wide piece of whalebone, is of unusually large scale, with an elegant profile and painstakingly-smoothed surface.  Typically for a classic Maori patu, its weight is carefully balanced, providing the user with an efficient pendulum and striking surface countered by the weight of the rounded grip.

Out of stock


Kjellgren (2007: 312) notes: “One of the principal weapons of Maori warriors was the patu, a teardrop-shaped hand club used to strike a thrusting or slicing blow to the head or torso of an opponent during hand-to-hand combat.  The clubs were typically made from wood, whalebone, or grayish stone […] When not in use, patu were suspended from the wrist by a loop or worn at the waist thrust into a belt.  Patu served as symbols of authority and martial prowess as well as practical weapons.  Joseph Banks, who accompanied Captain James Cook to Aotearoa in 1770, noted this symbolic role of Maori patu: ‘The principal people seldom stirrd [sic] out without one of them [a patu] sticking in his girdle … insomuch as we were almost led to conclude that in peace as well as war they wore them as a war-like ornament in the same manner as we Europeans do swords.”

Financing is available on request via Art Money.