2 fantastic figures, one standing on the head of the other, with open mouths with hanging tongues and incised organic designs on bodies; shell eyes

House Panel, c. 1880

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Wood, shellexpand_more

The Frances M. Norbeck Fundexpand_more  2000.137

The Maori people decorated their communal houses with intricately carved panels of ancestral figures like this one. The higher the quality of the carving, the greater the prestige of the community and the honor to the spirits memorialized. The Maori rely upon important ancestors to protect and assist their descendants. In this example, one can see the spirits' vitality and strength. They stand upright, facing outwards towards the viewer, and have extended tongues, a sign of potency. Shell inlay set in the eyes gives the figures further energy and life.

Details
Title
House Panel
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2000.137
Curator Approved

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2 fantastic figures, one standing on the head of the other, with open mouths with hanging tongues and incised organic designs on bodies; shell eyes