Of heavy, dense exotic wood and inlaid with carved shell pieces, this ceremonial staff is from the Solomon Islands, pre 1950s.
The form is better than most, having a figural image at the top, well carved with open legs and good detail. The carving depicts a figure with folded arms, slightly bent knees, and a stylized face seen in Solomon Islands iconography. The figural section measures 13 1/4" high.
Very nice dark patina, with a lovely slightly glossy surface, some pieces of inlay missing. Where the staff has been handled or has lain, slightly lighter color is visible in the wood. The shell inlay is slightly iridescent, likely the shell of chambered nautilus.
Has some good age with the obvious patina and wear, dates to earlier 20th century, possibly brought back to the US by military personnel stationed in the Pacific during WWII.
A nice example of ethnographic art and artifacts from the Oceanic region.
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