Tag Archives: tongan war clubs

The Polynesian Art of Tongan War Clubs

Tongan war clubs are weapons usually known by the term ‘akau, which means stave. Tongan clubs are one of the few instantly classic and easily identifiable artifacts from Polynesia. They were widely collected from the period of James Cook’s voyages in the 1770s onwards, and reflect the militaristic collecting interests of sailors and traders, as well as a vigorous demand for non-western weapons in the European curiosities markets.‘Akau, along with spears, were the principal weapons of war in Tonga up until the middle of the 19th century, despite the introduction of firearms from western sailors and traders from the late 18th century onwards.… Read More