Stilt Step (Tapuvae)
Arts of the Pacific Islands
An important aspect of male competition in the Marquesas Islands, stilt games were either group races or individual competitions in which one opponent attempted to knock the stilts out from under his rival. Oral traditions record that some performers were so skilled that they were able to turn somersaults as they tested their athletic ability. During certain religious events, however, stilt demonstrations also measured a man's spiritual strength. Stilts were composed of a step attached with ornamental lashings to a shaft between five and seven feet long.
late 18th century
15 x 2 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (38.1 x 6.7 x 11.7 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
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Marquesan. Stilt Step (Tapuvae), late 18th century. Wood, 15 x 2 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (38.1 x 6.7 x 11.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 56.6.106. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 56.6.106_SL1.jpg)
overall, 56.6.106_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Carved wooden stilt step; upper tiki carved with arms and legs; lower carved upside down, back view, surface incised with parallel lines forming large diamonds
Condition: bottom broken off, scratched
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