Attribution: Gisborne, 1850, made by Raharuhi Rukupo (David Simmons, October 1981); Gisborne, about 1840 (Roger Neich, March 1994).
This is known as the 'Mayer tinderbox' (after its previous owner, Joseph Mayer) and is one of a small number of boxes with squatting or seated figures made in the mid nineteenth century. Some of these may have been made by the master carver Raharuhi Rukupo. The original use of the box is not known.
Published in the Catalogue of the Mayer Museum: Prehistoric antiquities and ethnography, Part 2. Charles T Gatty (1882). Item No 736, p 84.
'Box in wood, in shape of a man's figure stooping, and carrying the box on his back, on top of which is carved a grotesque human figure. The face of the stooping figure is carved with ornamentation representing the elaborate tattooing of the Maoris; the eyes of both figures are inlaid with shell. The figure is placed upon a very distinctly horshoe-shaped stand, which renders it probable that it was carved subsequent to the European occupation of New Zealand.'
Listed in Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Prehistoric Antiquities and Ethnography held at The Walker Art gallery, Liverpool, May 1880. Charles T Gatty 1880.
Item No 516, page 40.