Lot 9
  • 9

Maori Gable Peak Figure, New Zealand

10,000 - 15,000 USD
27,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood and shell
the eyes inlaid with Paua Abalone (Haliotis iris) shell.


Will Hoogstraate, Amsterdam
Etude Gros-Delettrez, Paris, May 26-27, 1983, lot 186, consigned by the above
Allan Stone, New York

Catalogue Note

The present figure is probably a gable peak figure (tekoteko) that once adorned an ornately decorated Maori assembly hall (whare whakairo), food storehouse (pataka) or chief's dwelling. Kjellgren (2007: 310-311) notes: "Ancestors, or tupuna, play a central role in Maori art and culture.  They include all forbears, from the founding ancestors who arrived in canoes from eastern Polynesia and gave rise to the different Maori groups, or iwi, that exist today to individuals who were born and died within living memory.  Tupuna of both sexes are honored and revered throughout Maori society.  The great majority of human images, or tiki, in Maori art depict ancestors in myriad manifestations on works ranging from personal ornaments to monumental sculpture.  Some of the finest ancestor images were, and are, created as architectural ornaments."

As Mack (1982: 100) notes: "Most of these complexly carved buildings have long since disappeared [...] individual carved elements have been preserved to afford us a tantalizing hint of lost grandeur.  Such structures were public buildings, and their quality reflected on not only the chiefs who commissioned them, but on the entire community.  As a result, enormous amounts of energy and skill, as well as religious ritual, went into their construction."

For two Maori Gable Peak Figures previously in the collection of James T. Hooper which feature elements of stacked openwork loops comparable to those seen in the present figure, see Phelps (1976: 33, nos. 1 and 3).