Lizard Figure ( Moko Miro)
Arts of the Pacific Islands
Lizard, human, and avian characteristics merge in these so-called lizard figures. Researchers have advanced many explanations regarding their use. The fact that the legs of of figures like these two form a handle shape suggests they were used as clubs. In addition, the figures may have been held in the hand or worn around the neck by dancers during feasts. Some moko miro were placed in the doorways of houses, eitiher suspended from the roof or set into the ground, to protect the inhabitants from harm. Originally, these figures had inlaid white shell eyes with obsidian pupils.
15 3/4 x 3 x 2 in. (40 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Lizard Figure ( Moko Miro), 19th century. Wood, 15 3/4 x 3 x 2 in. (40 x 7.6 x 5.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1941, Frank L. Babbott Fund, 41.1277. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 41.1277_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Carved wooden lizard. Has a characteristic triangular head, protruding eyebrows and ribs, the crested spinal column with a fan-like termination, abdomen on level with under-jaw and chest, long thin arms extending across the chest, and legs extended to a tapering point. According to Metraux, Ethnology of Easter Island, Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin 160, Honolulu Hawaii, 1940, such lizards are made of toromiro wood and have supernatural power in protecting a household. Metraux believed that the lizard images were found at the entrance of a house. There is also some belief that the images may have served as clubs in defending the houses.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.