Maori Papahou Feather Box-Morris Pinto-Polynesian Art-Oceanic Art
Maori Feather Box, Papahou
North Island, New Zealand
Morris Pinto Collection
Sotheby’s London, 9 May 1977, lot 32
Dates to the 1840s–1860s
14 ½” (36.9 cm) in height
The two types of Maori feather boxes are wakahuia and papahou. The wakahuia are the classic, oval shape with allover carved design and often figures jutting out from each end. The much rarer and often earlier feather boxes are the narrow rectangular papahou. The present example, while missing its lid, is superbly carved in relief with deep void spaces that highlight the opposing raised portions. The figures have paua shell eyes, and there is a warm smoothness to the surface from generations of use.
Published in "OCEANIC ART: PROVENANCE AND HISTORY" edited by Michael Hamson, pages 16/17, item 3.