About this object

A prow (tauihu) for a model canoe. The carved wood forms a right angle with a tiki at the front, its arms bent back and tongue extended. There is a male human figure at the back with head, hands joined at the chin, and penis outlined, but with little other surface carving. The roughly triangular pierced section between the two main figures has two main spirals (pitau), ridges and pakati. The carving appears to be unfinished. Three holes pass through the base, probably for attachment to the body of canoe.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    1898 before
  • Materials
    Wood; Technique: Carved
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of the Trustees of the Wellcome Collection
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    28.0 x 5.4 x 13.0 cm
  • Note
    The label says 'Rare old model Maori canoe, given me in 1898 by Gloria Kemp, Cheiftainess, Wanganui.' Attributions: Taranaki, 19th century (David Simmons, October 1981); The [human] figure similar to Polynesian ones, though the rest of the carving is Maori (Dmitri Anson March 1994).
  • Related people


Previous owners

Object view = Humanities
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