bird arrow

Bird arrow with bamboo shaft and inverse wooden conical head with flat end, attached with vegetal binding. Notched end with vegetable binding.

Bird Bolt, Vanuatu. Like many everyday items from Vanuatu, this object is highly refined to serve its function effectively, with little or no ornamentation. It is a specialised form of arrow, a bird bolt, and arrows for this purpose take more or less the same form worldwide. The aim is to strike a perching bird with a heavy blunt projectile which will kill it outright, without embedding itself in the tree or breaking the bird's skin. The latter is particularly important when hunting birds for their colourful plumage, as there is no chance of blood spoiling the feathers. Feather-decorated spear shafts and (very rarely) feather-fletched arrows were elements of traditional ni-Vanuatu feather use. Wood, bamboo. Late 19th Century. Formerly in the private collection of the Countess of Dunmore.

Collection Information

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