Large Traditional heavy well balanced field collected old example.
PNG Hardwood (Rainforest Rosewood).
Length: 3ft 2.5ins (97.5cm) Beak 21ins (54cm)
3 lbs 3oz. (1.40 kg)
Excellent deep rich very warm aged handling patina PROVENANCE: Pre WW11 Chenoweth collection. Fresh to Market Unseen Artifact.
The Angu, called Kukukuku by their neighbours, are a small, but fierce people, previously known for their murderous surprise raids on other groups' villages. They live in very remote mountainous country inland from the Purari Delta on the Papuan Gulf. Until relatively recently much of their territory was a long walk from all except a few mission air strips.
The Angu are well known because they had such a fearful reputation and a memorable nickname. They are known for their distinctive stone clubs. Their wood beaked clubs are extremely rare & only show up in early Papuan field collections.
The term ‘Kukukuku’ is not one familiar to the people it purports to describe. The general consensus is that the word is derived from the Motuan kokokoko, which describes the distinctive cassowary-bone belts worn by Kukukuku men after the birth of their first child. Other connotations are more derogatory.
In a letter to the South Australian Museum ethnologist, Norman Tindale, dated 15 October, 1951 the first Lutheran missionary at Menyamya, APH (Harold) Freund noted that the term caused offence to the Menyamya people. Pressed further, Freund reported that the Menyamya Kukukuku referred to themselves as Ngwodiaga but did not provide and further information.
A more colourful, and predictable, version of the term comes from the Upper Watut people who say that the first Patrol Officer asking them who they were, mistook what a man said when he replied kouka, their word for man or boy. It was reported that the Bulolo people referred to the Kukukuku as the Babwaf or Babwa but this is the name of a village on the Watut River.
Faced with this dilemma in terminology, a number of researchers, including Lloyd and Gajdusek, proposed the word Anga, which is almost universally used by the Kukukuku to describe the concept of ‘home’.
The word has caught on with some researchers but is, according to a former curator of the JK McCarthy Museum in Goroka, Ivan Mbaginta’o, who is himself Kukukuku, not in common usage among his people. He does, however, use the term in his own publications.