Canoe Prow (Tauihu)
Arts of the Pacific Islands
Wood, paua shell
12 5/8 x 21 5/8 x 40 15/16 in. (32.0 x 55.0 x 104.0 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Princess Gourielli (Mme Helena Rubinstein)
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Maori. Canoe Prow (Tauihu), 1850-1870. Wood, paua shell, 12 5/8 x 21 5/8 x 40 15/16 in. (32.0 x 55.0 x 104.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Princess Gourielli (Mme Helena Rubinstein), 53.149.1. Creative Commons-BY
3/4 front, 53.149.1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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This canoe prow of a river boat is carved from four pieces of wood: one piece is at the front of the object with a curved long neck that ends in a carved face; a second and third are two separate side boards nailed to the front piece; and a fourth is a small floor board nailed within the second and third pieces near the front. There are holes in the boards probably for lashings: four in the top of the front piece, two on each side of the long curved neck, five in one side board, and six in the other. The face, which is attached to the curved neck of the prow, has a sculpted triangular forehead with a sharp front ridge joining the nose's flared nostrils. The eyes of shell are mounted on pegs and surrounded by semi-lunar areas of carved scroll designs. The open, heart-shaped mouth is decorated with scrolls and has a long triangular tongue extending out from it.
Condition: Fair. There are chips on the tip of the tongue, sides at top of the head, and in shell inlays of the eyes. Overall, there are numerous cracks and nicks in the wood of the object. There are two repairs on the face: the first is a diagonal crack going across the right eye to the nose and continuing below the left eye; and the second is one crack going from the back of the neck to the prow, through the lower half of the face, and through the middle of the mouth.
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