About the object

It is unlikely that such a richly-carved spear was used as a weapon. It may have been produced for sale to dealers. The depiction of a human figure can often be found on the objects from the Admiralty Islands. In general, these figures represent ancestors. The spear could also have featured in a specific ceremonial context, such as at peace negotiations. The spear, as well as other objects in the Oceania collection, were collected by Wilhelm Lebahn, captain of the Imperial Navy survey ship »S.M.S. Planet«, on which the ethnologist, anthropologist and marine doctor Augustin Krämer was also travelling. The Lebahn collection was sold after his death by his brother-in-law Dr. Rudolf Plähn from Waldkirch.

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