Here are some more photos from a recent visit to The National Museum of Scotland.
First up, a close up of the decorative figure carved into the handle of this adze or ‘Toki Poutangata’.
The carved handle would be lashed to a sacred blade made from Pounamu (Greenstone) or Argillite (a type of basalt).
The adze would have belonged to a person of ‘Mana’ — someone of great importance, probably a chief.#
The adze would to begin an important project such as the carving of a new canoe or a post for the meeting house.
When the owner died, the handle would be buried with him and the sacred blade passed to an heir, to be lashed to a new handle.
See more examples of ceremonial adzes here
On the left you can see a Papua New Guinea shield and on the right, one from New Britain. Both shields are decorated and the colours would have originally been quite bright. The colours and designs were intended to distract and intimidate enemies.
The New Guinea shield may be a ceremonial one used to decorate the men’s house or in ritual dances rather than in battle as it does not protect the whole body. The New Britain shield on the other hand is almost as high as a man and would have covered the warriors body while he advanced sideways, armed with a spear or bow.
See more shields at the British Museum