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War Charm

Throughout the Admiralty Islands, part of a warrior's preparation for battle included donning a war charm to increase his courage and protect him in battle. The charm was tied with a short cord to the nape of the neck so that the carved head looked out behind the warrior and the feathers curved away from his back. On this war charm, the presence of glass beads is a clear indication of outside influence, for they were not made by indigenous peoples anywhere in Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, or Australia.

Matankor peoples, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands
War Charm
19th century
Wood, frigate bird feathers, glass beads, cuscus teeth, cloth, fiber
H. 20 ½ in. (52.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 76.40