Image: Box, New Zealand/Aotearoa E2667

Box, New Zealand/Aotearoa E2667

Local name: kumete

Provenance:New Zealand/Aotearoa, Polynesia, Pacific

Such intricately carved boxes were the result of a burgeoning tourist trade in New Zealand during the 1880's. Inspired by nature and the traditional stories of the Ngati Tarawhai people, such experimental pieces were essential for early collectors and affluent gentry to include in their repertoire of Maori carved figures. This box is a signature piece of the celebrated Ngati Tarawhai Master Carver, Anaha Te Rahui. It illustrates the 'bended knee' figures which support the main bowl, fully stylized in his signature carving technique. The box was accessioned into the Australian Museum in January 1890.

Description: Dark brown, spherical, carved wooden box supported on either end by two standing figures; figures have inlaid Paua shell (haliotis australis) eyes (two missing); lid convex and decorated with two incised interlocking figures and parallel lines; these figures also have Paua shell eyes; all figures decorated with incised spiral Koru designs and parallel lines; incised diagonal parallel lines on box surface; interior of box and lid plain.

Height: 25cm; Length:28cm; Width:17cm

Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

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