- Museum number
Double bowl carved in 'kou' wood with a figure including small pearl shell discs at the main joints, except the ankles and marking the eyes. The figure's hairs are made of red feathers and fur (dog?). A piece of barkcloth is tied around the hips and features a male loincloth.
- Production date
Height: 11.50 centimetres
Length: 27.90 centimetres
Width: 9.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Register slip comment:
'Probably a crust (pa inamona) for condiment made of sale & cooked candle-nut. [Emerson]'.
The small figure has pearl-shell discs at the main joints, except the ankles, and the hair of red feathers and fur (dog?). Its sex is ambiguous because despite the male loincloth a vulva is indicated beneath. The purpose of this double bowl is not known.
Information from Pacific Art in Detail: The chiefs of the central and eastern Pacific took care when approaching cooked food, considered a profane substance. A range of taboo ('tapu') items safeguarded those of divine lineage from coming into inappropriate contact with cooked food. Bowls for food were managed by their own attendants, who carefully disposed of the chief's scraps to avoid them being used against him in sorcery.
Carvers created figures of entertaining acrobats and of subjugated chiefs shaped with adzes and chisels, then polished with pumice, shark's skin, sand and rough leaves, before applying a finish of candelnut oil. Bowls for disposing of a chief's food scraps could be inset with shells but also with the teeth of slain enemies.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1975-1985 12 Dec-23 Jun, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Hawaii
2008 16 Jun-14 Sep, Paris, Musée du quai Branly, Pacific Encounters
2006 21 May-13 Aug, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Pacific Encounters
- Acquisition notes
- Acquisition details unknown, but registered with material of late eighteenth-century provenance.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc????D6.47 (old CDMS no.)