RARE ALBUMEN SAMOA CHIEF TEO CARBINE GUN
- Source: eBay
Vintage albumen print circa 1890 showing "Teo," a Samoan chief with what appears to be a Martini-Henry rifle. bandoleer of cartridges, and other ornaments, by Kerry, Sydney, Australia. Signed in the negative lower left "Teo / Samoan Chief / Kerry, Sydney. 2866." Print size 7.25 x 4.5 inches (19x11 cm).
Some helpful political or commercial operative has provided this islander with a panoply of firepower. His bandoleer of cartridges has been ingeniously combined in a decorative way with more traditional native ornaments.
The Martini-Henry carbine was the chosen weapon of British forces, celebrated by Rudyard Kipling in his poem "The Young British Soldier" --
When 'arf of your bullets fly wide in the ditch,
Don't call your Martini a cross-eyed old bitch;
She's human as you are -- you treat her as sich,
An' she'll fight for the young British soldier.
Fight, fight, fight for the soldier . . .
The chief's body ornaments appear to include on his arm a circular boar's tusk, which were produced by the painful process of preventing certain selected boars from wearing down their tusks naturally. This caused the tusks grow back in a circular fashion and ultimately for its tip to pierce the boars own head near the tusk's root, thus forming a complete circle.
The image is mounted to its album... read more