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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Oceanic Art : Maori Whale Bone Hei Tiki Pendant
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Maori Whale Bone Hei Tiki Pendant - PF.2452
Origin: New Zealand
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6" (15.2cm) high
Collection: Oceanic Art
Medium: Bone


Location: UAE
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Description
The first western travelers to visit New Zealand marveled at the beautiful pendants called Hei Tiki, worn by Maori men and women. Hei is the Maori name for any ornament worn around the neck, while among most of the Maori, Tiki is the name of the god of creation. At once powerfully primitive and strikingly modern, this magnificent Maori pendant reveals the story of a proud, bold and highly expressive people. Deftly carved from whalebone in a flattened openwork form, the most eye-catching and lively elements of this pendant are the beautifully scrolled patterns carved on the figures face and body. These detailed curvilinear designs represent a kind of body tattooing called Moko, used by Maori chiefs as a type of kinship identification, each kin group within Maori culture having a distinctive set of patterns, worn only by members of that particular clan. Clearly then, this spirited image represents a very powerful figure in Maori society. A highly expressive face, complete with wide inlaid abalone shell eyes, adds to the figures aura of primal, ancestral power. A combination of delicate beauty and potent energy makes this pendant one of the most stunning examples of ancient Maori artistry, to be treasured as a spirited link with an ancient culture and as a splendid work of art in and of itself. - (PF.2452)

 

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