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Lipped Club (sali)

Each distinctively shaped Fijian club was meant to inflict a specific type of wound.  The broad blade of the sali, popularly known as the “gunstock club,” was designed to slice through bone rather than crush it.  The spur could also be used to penetrate the skull, in the manner of the beaked battle-hammers.  Because of the shape of the head, this club was named after the clawed flower (sali) of one of the wild banana plants.   Fijians sometimes tallied the number of victims killed with notches on the heads or handles of their clubs. This sali club has four notches at the top of the handle just under the head. 

In Fijian culture there was great honor for those who killed and shame for those who did not.  A youth could attain warrior status only after killing an enemy with his club, not with any other weapon.  If a Fijian had not yet killed with his club at the time of his death, it was believed that he was doomed to pound human excrement with it for eternity in the afterworld.  When warriors acquired new clubs they sought victims to consecrate the clubs so they could offer their first kill to the war god.  After an enemy was killed, both the warrior and his club would receive an honorific title at a lavish public ceremony extending over four days.

-Lauren Schwab, Class of '06