The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

The Mafulu war spears are made out of a very hard-wooded palm tree and another hard red-wooded tree, the name of which I do not know.  They are round in section, tapering at both ends, and are generally from 10 to 12 feet long, and about three-quarters of an inch in diameter at the widest part.  There are three forms of point.  The first (Plate 73, Fig. 1) is simply a tapering off in round section.  The second (Plate 73, Fig. 2) is made square in section for a distance of 2 to 2 1/2 feet from the tip.  The third (Plate 73, Fig. 3) is in section a triangle, of which two sides are equal and the other side is a little larger, this triangular form being carried for a foot or less from the tip, and the larger surface being barbed bilaterally.  This last-mentioned form is also generally decorated with a little tuft of bright-coloured feathers, just above the point where the barbing begins.

The bows (Plate 74, Fig. 1) are made of split bamboo, the convex side of the bow being the inner section of the split bamboo.  These bows are quite short, generally about 4 feet long when straightened out, and have triangular-shaped knobs at the ends for holding the bowstrings.  The bowstrings are made of what appears to be strong split canes (not sugar-canes).  The arrows (Plate 73, Fig. 4) are from 6 to 8 feet long, which is extraordinary in comparison with the length of the bows, and are made in two parts, the shaft being made of a strong reed, and the point, which is inserted into the reed shaft and is generally a foot or more long, being single and round-sectioned, and made of the same materials as are used for spears.  There are no feathers or equivalents of feathers, and the shaft end of the arrow is cut square and not notched.

The clubs (Plate 75, Figs, 1 and 2) are stone-headed, the heads being of the pineapple and disc types; but these heads are the same as those used on the plains and coast, whose people, in fact, get them from the mountains, and as these are so well-known, it is not necessary for me to describe them.

The adzes (Plate 75, Fig. 4) are of the usual type, the stone blade being lashed directly on to the handle.  There are two common forms.  In one, which is also used for ordinary adze work, the haft is cut from a natural branch, with the angle of the head part set obliquely.  In the other, which is also used for cutting timber, the haft is cut from a branch with the angle of the head part set at right angles, or nearly so.  I do not know to what extent this second form is common in New Guinea.  It is not found in Mekeo.

The shields (Plate 74, Figs. 2 and 3) are thick, heavy, cumbrous weapons, made out of the wood used for making wooden dishes.  The outer surfaces are convex, and the inner ones concave, the natural convexity of the circular trunk of the tree from which they are made being retained.  These shields are 4 1/2 to 5 feet long, and usually about 15 or 16 inches wide in the broadest central part, getting somewhat

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The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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