Fan Handle (Ke'e)

Marquesan (Enata) people

Not on view

Fans in the Marquesas were carried by prominent individuals of both sexes as marks of social status. Displayed at feasts and other events, their visual impact was enhanced by the elegant manner in which they were carried, especially by women. Made from narrow strips of plant fiber, the blades were woven around dagger-like wood handles (ke'e), sometimes sheathed in a sleeve of bone. The earliest fan handles were apparently unadorned, but by the early 1800s, artists began to decorate them with numerous small tiki (human images). Typically arranged in pairs, shown back-to-back and stacked one atop the other, these tiki, like human images elsewhere in Marquesan art, likely portray deified ancestors.

Fan Handle (Ke'e), Wood, Marquesan (Enata) people

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