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c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands
  • c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands
  • c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands
  • c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands
  • c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands
  • c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands

c1885 Shark Teeth Sword from Pacific Gilbert Islands

Price:

£2,500.00


Product Description

A really impressive looking late 19th century short sword that comes from the then Kingsmill Islands or Kingsmill Group, but now called the Gilbert Islands.

The sword is a testament to the ingenuity of the native Micronesians, as the islands were coral atolls and therefore hard materials, like stone, were not available. Before the arrival of Europeans, with metal tools, the hardest material available was shark’s teeth. Therefore, the sword is made of a broad double-edged piece of wood, with a groove along the edge in which are imbedded and fibre string bound, a row of triangular shark’s teeth. The teeth are most likely the upper ones from a Bull Shark, offering a sharp serrated edge. The crossguard is a band of platted coconut leaf, in order to stop the hand slipping along the handle to the teeth. The handle has a drilled hole through which is attached a looped fibre cord. Condition is good, with just a few teeth missing.

The islands were named after Thomas Gilbert, a British Captain, who noted them during a trip in 1788. During the 19th century they were known as the Kingsmill Isles. They became a British protectorate as first proclaimed in 1883 by Captain Davis of HMS Royalist. British official Arthur Mahaffy visited the Islands in 1909. He noted that the "villages are kept in admirable order and the roads are scrupulously clean." A hospital was on each island, as well. In 1915, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands were proclaimed a colony of the British Empire.

Size: 55 cm (21 5/8 inches)
Weight: 237 g

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  • Shipping Weight: 1.2kgs
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