Naturalist and explorer Georg Heinrich von Langsdorff, who visited the Marquesas Islands archipelago in 1813, was the first European visitor to comment on a koina ceremony: "Apart from dancing, one of the favourite pleasures among these people is to run on stilts, and perhaps no people on earth do so with such skill." (Langsdorff quoted in Ivory, Matahoata. Arts et société aux îles Marquises, 2016, p. 171). The major element of these stilts was the pedal (or stirrup), symbolically linking the dancer to the ancestors. The attention lavished upon it is reflected here in the imposing tiki figure, with its body and coiffure entirely decorated with linear patterns. The face, with its features dulled by use and time, eloquently illustrates the classical style of Marquesan art.
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