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Paddle Club (kinikini)

The paddle club (kinikini) is one of the few Fijian clubs used largely for ceremonial purposes as opposed to battle. Primarily associated with chiefs, the paddle club was a symbol of authority in Fijian culture. Accounts from early European travelers also indicate that paddle clubs were used by Fijian priests in religious ceremonies. Although its function was primarily ceremonial, if a paddle club were to be used in battle the carrier would use the edge of the club ( as opposed to the flat side) to cleave open the head of an opponent.

This shape of this club is typically Fijian, though it may have originated in neighboring Tonga, a long-standing enemy that had a large impact on the forms and motifs of Fijian weaponry. The patterns carved on the blade certainly derive from the art of Tonga. Tongans favored compartmentalized geometric designs on their clubs, as seen here, into which they frequently inserted small figures, both representative and abstract, such as the pairs of opposing triangles in the lower registers of this club.

-Erica Jones, Class of '06