About this object

A tattooing instrument shaped like a small hafted adze, made from pale wood. The handle is flat in cross-section and has carved decoration. The bone blade has a serrated edge and is attached to the haft by coarse fibre lashing.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Body Art
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    1942 before
  • Materials
    Wood; Bone; Fibre; Technique: Carved
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Taunton Museum, 1942
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    1.3 x 5.1 x 14.6 cm
  • Note
    Probably made using metal tools. The back of the instrument was tapped with a small striker or mallet, and the serrated edge of the blade broke the skin and applied the pigment (soot and oil) into the punctured surface. Another method of tattooing involved cutting the skin with a type of chisel with a straight blade before applying the pigment.
  • Related people
    Taunton Museum ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Taunton Museum

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchase
    Owned until: 1942
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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