Canoe Bow Piece

Object Number:18128
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: New Zealand
Height: 40 cm
Length: 100 cm
Width: 28 cm
Credit Line:Gift of William Pepper, 1891


Carved prow of war canoe. This carved bow piece for a Maori war canoe is of a style that features two large pierced scrolls and, at the front, a human figure with tongue protruding and arms thrown back. Sticking out the tongue was (and is) a Maori gesture of defiance. This bow piece was collected on the North Island of New Zealand, near Wellington, by C. D. Voy in the 1870s.

According to Maori tradition, New Zealand ( Aotearoa ) was settled by a fleet of seagoing canoes. A tribal group might refer to itself as a waka (canoe), meaning that the members of the group were descended from the crew of a particular, named canoe. The Maori war canoe ( waka taua ) was not only a vessel used to transport warriors, but a sacred symbol of the village that built it. The waka taua was also seen as a manifestation of the collective body and spirit of the ancestors and of the power ( mana ) transmitted from them to the community.


[Article] Hall, Henry U. 1920. "Maori Wood Carving and Moko". The Museum Journal. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Vol. 11. no. 4. pg. 212-244 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 222 (Fig 92)View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Catalogue] Simmons, D. R. 1982. Catalogue of Maori Artefacts in the Museums of Canada and the United States of America.. Auckland. Bulletin of the Auckland Institute and Museum. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Pl. 221 / Pl. 217View Objects related to this Actual Citation

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