A Rare Pacific Solomon Islands Santa Cruz Temotu Province Stingray Skin and Wood Rasp used in the Making of Ceremonial Clubs and Other Ritual Objects
The Central White Button to the Middle Formed by the Belly Button of the Stingray
Old black inventory No 103D to handle
Size: 39.5cm long - 15½ ins long / 43.5cm high - 17¼ ins high (on base)
Ray and shark skin is similar as both are covered with hard enamel like placoid scales which is ideal for smoothing wood. This rasp was made to replicate the shape of a ray and was used like a fine grained file to produce a lustrous patina on ceremonial or fighting clubs.
The design of clubs found on the Solomon Islands is one of restraint and symmetry with a feeling of elegance conveyed through the soft patina of the wood.
Although these rasps could sometimes be used for grating sandalwood to make a perfumed coconut oil, their main use was to heighten the beauty of carefully made ritual artefacts.
Ex collection John Charles (Jack) Edler 1996
Acquired Jim Elmslie Australia
Ex collection Elizabeth Pryce, Sydney, Australia Sold at Sothebys Paris L’Art de Vivre Oceanie Elizabeth Pryce Collection 10th October 2018 Lot 35
Acquired Galerie Meyer Paris
cf: British Museum have a similar example that is from the Harry Geoffrey Beasley collection Inv. No. Oc1944.02.1203