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Title: Tufunga Tongi 'akau : Tongan club carvers & their arts
Author: Mills, Andy N.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3408 4554
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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This is a material ethnohistory of 'akau - war-clubs from the Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. It combines ethnohistoric reconstruction with stylistic analysis and ethnographic analogy, in order to provide a representation of the use, manufacture and variation of these complex woodcarvings during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its concerns are therefore both stylistic and processual. It argues that these weapons were intimately associated with the biographical accumulation of mana - metaphysical efficacy - and themselves underwent a process of the incremental development of a form of supernatural personhood over time. It presents a new method for the chronological analysis of museum collections, and a chronological stylistic typology of these weapons, as well as a chronology of change in their extensive and detailed decorative surface incision. In order to do this, it argues for the existence of fluctuating formal templates within the minds of all humans apprehending, using and creating artefacts, which are termed Particular and Typological Ideals. It suggests that a complex set of stylistic changes occurred in 'akau over time, of which the foremost were a general diversification and breakdown of the pre-existing canon of forms and iconographic elements, and a far-reaching cultural reorientation towards the uptake of Fijian forms, at some point in the second half of the eighteenth century. These two stylistic trends seem to have been in both concert and opposition, in different aspects of the artistic process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available