Throwing Club, mid–19th–early 20th century
Southeastern region, Australia
Wood; L. 25 5/8 in. (65.1 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John J. Klejman, 1965 (1978.412.870)
Aboriginal peoples in southeastern Australia formerly created two principal types of clubs: large heavy varieties, used for hand-to-hand combat, and smaller, lightweight throwing clubs, such as the present work, which were employed in both warfare and hunting. Throwing clubs were projectile weapons hurled at human enemies or game from a distance to strike an incapacitating blow. Like many southeastern clubs, this work has a pointed, bulbous head intended to deliver a powerful blow to the target. The shaft and head are adorned with incised diamond-shaped motifs. These might have been purely decorative, but, like many geometric designs in Aboriginal art, possibly had deeper significance.