Dolk av kasuarfågelns ben, smyckad med ett flätverk av snöre vid handtagets topp. I detta flätverk är nio stycken tofsar gjorda av frön från Jobs tårar, abrusfrön, fågelpennor och kasuarfågelfjädrar fastsatta med bivax.
Text till utställningen Avian Allies: Cassowaries are large, flightless birds native to New Guinea and northern Australia. They are elusive creatures, generally avoiding human contact, but are notoriously aggressive and dangerous when provoked. These are traits which made them appealing to warriors. However, a duality exists within cassowaries as both the male and female bird incubate their eggs and males also care for their young hatchlings. As such, cassowaries are considered to embody both male and female characteristics. For several New Guinea cultures all cassowaries, regardless of actual gender, are considered female.
Many New Guinea societies fashioned daggers from sharpened cassowary leg bones and, occasionally, human bone. The strength and aggression of the bird was metaphorically channelled into these weapons which were used in combat to stab enemies at close quarters. Prestigious yet deadly, daggers connected warriors with mythological and ancestral power. They could also be used during male initiation ceremonies and to ritually kill pigs.
Decoration of cassowary daggers varied greatly. Some were left plain while others were embellished with incised patterns and motifs. Colourful seeds, glass beads, or tassels of cassowary feathers were also attached to a type of net construction that covered the joint section of the bone.
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