The head of this club, the mark of a Marquesan warrior, presents a mesmerizing complex of faces on all sides, keeping watch in every direction. The tiki, or human figure, is a central focus of art of the Marquesas Islands. Here, larger faces are composed of small faces, combining and revealing eyes and faces in a series of visual puns. Some scholars have traced this layering and hiding of faces within geometric patterns to ancient Lapita pottery designs.
Marquesan warriors carried these clubs to indicate their status. When chiefs sent their warriors into battle, they aimed to unnerve their adversaries with their visual impact. Wielding their imposing clubs and dressed in tall feather headdresses and ornaments, they also sported dramatic tattoos. A warrior is said to have acquired a new tattoo for every conquest, which when completed, covered his entire body with designs in the same style as that on the clubs.
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