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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.

CULTURE Marquesan
DATES late 18th century
DIMENSIONS 15 x 2 5/8 x 4 5/8 in. (38.1 x 6.7 x 11.7 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos
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CAPTION 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
IMAGE overall, 56.6.106_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.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved wooden stilt rest. 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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