Prestige axe, Kanak
Kanak, New Caledonia, 1700-1800
Serpentine, wood, cloth, fiber
Height : 60 cm
Provenance : Ex. Edwin Curtis Moffat, London (before 1939)
The different elements composing this remarkably tall and elegant “O Kono” axe, namely the stone blade, the blue cloth and the bindings, are all of extremely ancient and fine quality, and clearly belong together. It is actually quite rare to find an early Kanak axe in such good condition. Symbol of power and objects of prestige kept in a basket of wealth belonging to important lineages, they were only removed on key occasions such as mourning ceremonies and weddings during which affirmation of status occurred. Some early explorers have also observed these object in the context of rainmaking rituals. Edwin Curtis Moffat (1887–1949), better known as Curtis Moffat, was a London-based American abstract photographer, painter and modernist interior designer. Moffat studied painting in New York and in Paris before exhibiting his work in New York during World War I. He married the actress and poet Iris Tree, and the couple moved to London after the war, where Moffat took up abstract photography. He collaborated with Man Ray and Cecil Beaton on numerous occasions throughout his career. He opened a photographic studio in London in 1925. Four years later, he opened an interior design showroom and gallery, displaying a combination of modern, antique and the first major collections of African tribal sculpture in London. His home became a popular salon for artists, intellectuals and gourmands.
Price on request