- Museum number
God house (fare atua) for oro figure (deity figure LMS.98), in a form reminiscent of a pig, with four short legs and round body. Open at one end. Topped with a carved, peaked 'roof'. Made of wood and sinnet.
- Production date
- 18thC(late)-19thC(early) (before 1824)
Height: 34.50 centimetres (special box)
Height: 31.50 centimetres
Length: 87 centimetres
Width: 96.40 centimetres (special box)
Depth: 41.90 centimetres (special box)
- Curator's comments
LMS slip comments:
'An idol chest or house made to hold the smaller gods. From the marae at Tahiti. Presented by the late Mr Bennett'. Described in Tyerman & Bennett 1831, II p.58.
For the figure belongng to the box, see LMS98.
This remarkable one-piece sculpture with animal/humanoid features was acquired by George Bennet on 1 October 1823 at Papara, Tahiti. Bennet noted that after the 'overthrow of idolatry' in 1815 the house was kept in a cave on the mountains, before being 'brought to market and sold, not for its value, but for its curiosity' (Montgomery, J., 1831, 'Journal of the voyages and travels by the Rev. Daniel Tyerman and George Bennet Esq. in the South Sea Islands ... 1821-1829: 2 vols. London: F Westley and A H Davis, II: 58). It is likely to have served as a portable shrine (fare atua) for a to'o image similar to nos 130-31, which would have been kept in the cylindrical chamber (Hooper, S.J.P., 2005, 'On looking at a Tahitian god house,' Journal of Museum Ethnography, 17: 89-100). The cover for the front of the chamber is lost.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1979 – 1980 15 Feb-29 Sept, London, BM, Museum of Mankind, Captain Cook in the South Seas
2006 21 May-13 Aug, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Pacific Encounters
2006-2007 28 Sept-7 Jan, London, BM, Power and Taboo
2008 16 Jun-14 Sep, Paris, Musée du quai Branly, Pacific Encounters
2014 23 May-3 Aug, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Atua: Sacred art from Polynesia
2014-2015 12 Oct-4 Jan, St Louis Art Museum, Atua: Sacred art from Polynesia
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Ex. London Missionary Society Collection; on loan 1890, purchased 1911.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc1911C27.120 (old CDMS no.)
Miscellaneous number: Oc1890,Loan (originally loaned to BM in 1890 by LMS)