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Toothed Club (fa'alaufa'i)

The fa’alaufa’i club is characterized by many pairs of lateral projections and a pointed head.  It is partly structured in the shape of a banana leaf, as suggested by its name (fa’a, like;  lau, leaf;  fa’i, banana). The pointed end and shoulders of the blade are its leaf-like attributes.  Because of the bilateral projections along the rest of the blade the fa’alaufa’i is classified as a toothed club, a distinctively Samoan type.  A typical fa’alaufa’i club has close-spaced teeth like this one but flares toward the end, which this one does not. 

Since this club does not flare at the pointed end it also resembles another Samoan toothed club called a talavalu.  The projections of the talavalu are larger and farther apart, however, and there are only eight of them, as is suggested by the name talavalu, which means “eight” (vala) “spikes” (tala).  So, although this unique club lies between the fa’alaufa’i and the talavalu in the classification, it is closer to the former.

-Robin Otto Hall, Class of '06