About this object

A hoe (canoe paddle) with a carved blade and an undulating shaft. There are two large humanoid figures on the front of the blade, the larger at the bottom, with a protruding single tongue, its right hand on its chest and it left held up to its left cheek. There are three fingers on each hand. The smaller figure has a protruding double tongue with both hands on its chest. The eyes are round and shell-inlaid. There are interlocking double spirals on the figures' knees and shoulders, and at the corners of the larger figure's mouth. The main surface decoration is rauponga (several parallel ridges with a notched ridge in between) with long pakati (dog's-tooth notches), and there are simple zigzags on the smaller figure's upper lip. The back of the blade has koru (bulbed hook shapes) with haehae (grooves) between and there are rauponga on the sides of the blade. The handle is square in cross-section, and has two beaked faces on the front, with oval shell-inlaid eyes with no central pegs. The surface decoration is rauponga on the sides of the handle, with the other two sides left plain.

The wood is splitting slightly in places and the shell inlay is missing from the left eye of the lower head on the handle.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    1955 before
  • Materials
    Wood; Abalone (Haliotis sp); Technique: Carved, inlaid
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    10.1 x 4.0 x 125.0 cm
  • Related people


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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