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Austral Islands paddle

old small handwritten label which reads "Andersonian Collection" CULT Unknown pre-1888 Ra'ivavae Island, Austral Islands Polynesia This paddle has a leaf-shaped blade and tapering cylindrical shaft and is carved all over in low relief with an elaborate design of interlocking geometric patterns. This form of Ra'ivavaean paddle is thought to have symbolised the tribal authority, prestige, and rank of its owner. The turret-like carved handle top has eight abstracted human figures with protruding faces. This style of circular handle top is typical of pre-contact Ra'ivavaean paddles. (Daniel Scott-Heaney, 2006)