Abstract

The use of "Knuckle-dusters" (Plate xlviii., figs. 2, 3) on some of the Pacific Islands is noteworthy. They are made of thick plaited and knotted sinnet cord, roughly shaped to the outline of the backs of the hands clenched, stiff and rigid, and answer more to the Roman cestus than to the modern boxing-glove. The positions corresponding to thumbs and index finger knuckles are raised into hard and formidable protuberances. Each "duster" is held in position on the hand by a thumb loop, and loops for the first and second fingers, placed along the front edge, through which the fingers are passed before the hand is clenched, and a long wrist cord, which wraps round the wrist several times. The weight is five and a half ounces. These were purchased as coming from Santa Cruz, but later information induces me to believe that they are from the Ellice Group. Cook described boxing matches as indulged in by both sexes on the island of Hapalee in the Tongan or Friendly Group. It appears the boxers held a piece of cord in one hand, which they wrapped firmly about it when they proceeded to box. Mariner, in his "Account of the Natives of the Tongan Islands," beyond quoting Cook, makes no remark on the subject. Ellis says that amongst the Tahitians, moto-raa, or boxing, was conducted with the open fist. On the Ellice and Tongan Groups, a much more formidable hand-cover was used, but on the palm. Mariner describes it as a glove set with shark's teeth, the latter" being fixed in three rows on the palm and fingers of a species of glove made of the plaited bark of the heabo; and both hands being armed in this manner, every man endeavours to come to a close scuffle with his antagonist, and to tear open his bowels, with these horrid weapons."

 
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Bibliographic Data

Short Form
Etheridge, 1902, Rec. Aust. Mus. 4(7): 303–308
Author
R. Etheridge
Year
1902
Title
Notes on some of the more recent additions to the ethnological collection, Australian Museum. No. 1
Serial Title
Records of the Australian Museum
Volume
4
Issue
7
Start Page
303
End Page
308
DOI
10.3853/j.0067-1975.4.1902.1107
Language
English
Plates
plates xlviii–xlix
Date Published
25 August 1902
Cover Date
25 August 1902
ISSN
0067-1975
CODEN
RAUMAJ
Publisher
The Australian Museum
Place Published
Sydney, Australia
Digitized
13 November 2008
Available Online
05 March 2009
Reference Number
1107
EndNote
/Uploads/Journals/16759/1107.enw
Title Page
/Uploads/Journals/16759/1107.pdf
File size: 84kB
Complete Work
/Uploads/Journals/16759/1107_complete.pdf
File size: 1316kB