The Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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Matankor peoples, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands
War Charm
Nineteenth century
Wood, frigate-bird feathers, glass beads, cuscus teeth, cloth, fiber

Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 76.40

Throughout the Admiralty Islands, part of a warrior's preparation for battle included donning a war charm to increase his courage and protect him in battle. The charm was tied with a short cord to the nape of the neck so the carved head looked out behind the warrior and the feathers curved away from his back. On this one, the presence of glass beads is a clear indication of outside influence, for they were not made by indigenous peoples anywhere in Polynesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, or Australia.