An image of Ceremonial axe

Unknown Artist

Ceremonial axe

Other titles:
Presentation axe
Not on display
Further information

The Mt Hagen battleaxes are the finest yet seen in New Guinea ... Most of them are made in the villages of Gumbigai and Mangarvigar in the Manginbor area, where the stone for the blades is quarried. Their heads are a blue or grey stone of fine texture, beautifully ground and polished. The blade is well housed in a wooden cavity, set in the same plane as the handle and counterbalanced by a piece of wood … set immediately behind and beautifully carved and decorated with fibre chains and fur … It is carried in the bark belt with the handle between the belt and the body and the head and counterpoise resting on the upper edge of the belt. When ready for action the axe is carried above the shoulder in an alert position with the hand near the blade.

Ernest Chinnery, Government Anthropologist, Mandated Territory of New Guinea, 1934

Place of origin
Minj, Anglimp-South Waghi District, Jiwaka Province, Papua New Guinea
Cultural origin
Wahgi people
early 20th century
collected 1940
Ceremonial object, Arms & armour
grey-green stone, wood handle, carved wood blade, woven split-vine binding
63 x 50 x 5.5 cm overall; blade 25.5 x 11.2 x 1.9 cm :
0 - Whole; 48.3 cm; handle length
0 - Whole; 61 cm; across top of axe
0 - Whole; 25.5 cm; slate blade
Gift of Stan Moriarty 1978
Accession number
© Wahgi people, under the endorsement of PIMA's 'Code of Ethics'