- Museum number
Standing male figure; made of wood (probably ironwood) and coir. Three small male figures are carved on the chest, and two figures (also male) are carved on each arm. Each arm has coir bindings with traces of barkcloth and feathers.
- Production date
Height: 70.50 (Full height including attached support 'shoes')
Height: 69 centimetres
Width: 15.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The eye form (an eye with two lids and a brow) can be seen in other examples of Rarotongan sculpture, such as the staff god, Oc1919,1014.1.
Emasculation of such figures was usual missionary practice, but this rare example survives intact. A comparable example can be found in Ortiz, G., 1994, No.274. In pursuit of the absolute: art of the ancient world from the George Ortiz collection. London: Royal Academy of Art.
Comparisons have been drawn between this figure and the casket figure from Rurutu, Oc,LMS.19.
This large male figure has three smaller ones in high relief on the chest, plus two further figures in low relief on each arm, all male. Coir arm bindings cover traces of barkcloth and feathers. It is extremely heavy, probably made of ironwood (Casuarina equisetifolia) which takes a high polish. No information is known about its original use, but it is attributed to Rarotonga on the basis of its distinctive eye form (an eye, two lids and one brow), similar to that on the staff gods (nos 192-3). It has escaped being emasculated, despite its missionary collectors; only one other comparable example is known (Ortiz, G.,1994, 'In pursuit of the absolute: art of the ancient world from the George Ortiz collection,' London: Royal Academy of Art: no. 274). A formal relationship with the Rurutu casket image (no. 156) has been widely noted.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
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
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Oc1911C27.169 (old CDMS no.)
Miscellaneous number: Oc1890,Loan (originally loaned to BM in 1890 by LMS)