Extraordinary Mid 19th C. New Zealand Maori "waka hoe" Ceremonial Canoe Paddle
Extraordinary Mid 19th C. New Zealand Maori "hoe" Ceremonial Canoe Paddle
Origin: E. Polynesia, New Zealand, Maori People, Rotorua school/ style (Provenance: Originally in an old UK Collection)
Period/Date: Likely 1820-1850
Materials: Hardwood, Paua shell, resin and or red sealing wax.
Description: This early and impressive ceremonial paddle is deeply and intensely carved. It features the classic wandering crooked handle having a powerful and somewhat archaic face on its terminal. The traditional early style of this face suggests the paddle was made during the first half of the 19th century. The paddle has overall gorgeous rich warm color and patina from use. The largest relief-carved face is located below the base of the handle and is complex and bold with inset shell eyes. The central blade of the paddle has an abstract stylized face nested in the design motif. The back side of the paddle has two inset eyes in the design. One of the shells is missing but you can see traces of the red sealing wax used for adhesive. Note that sealing wax was traded with the British as soon as there was contact. It is in good condition and has been well carved for. There is some minor loss to the center right edge where the wood was naturally very thin. In this same region is an old crack which does not affect integrity.
The word "rare" is arbitrary but quite accurately describes this Paddle. I venture to say that for every 200 "taiaha" there is just one paddle! They just don't appear very often.
CF. Plate 63-64 "The Oldman Collection of Maori Artifacts".
Dimensions: Height 68.5” (174 cm), width 5” (12.75 cm)