About this object

A head carved from a flat piece of wood, with a slightly tapering chin cut slightly curved across the bottom and the head cut slightly curved across the top. The overall shape is roughly rectangular. The nose is long and thin. The eyes and mouth are lenticular and shell-inlaid, the mouth with rectangular shell teeth. About two thirds of the rest of the face has areas of parallel curved grooves decorating its surface. Some of the teeth appear to be missing on the upper right side of the mouth. A metal ring is attached to the top of the head.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
    Maori or European
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    1879 before
  • Materials
    Wood; Abalone (Haliotis sp); Technique: Carved, inlaid
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Air Commodore Andrew Adolphus Walser, 1946
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    16.0 x 6.5 x 35.5 cm
  • Note
    Records say 'placed round the graves of the dead to keep away evil spirits', but it is more likely that the carving was associated with 1860s meeting houses and prophetic religious movements. Attribution: European (David Simmons, October 1981).
  • Related people
    Henry Charles Stephens ( Previous owner); Andrew Adolphus Walser ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Andrew Adolphus Walser

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchase
    Owned until: 1946
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • H C Mr Stephens

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: Unknown or unrecorded
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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