James Hooper, Arundel Christie's, London, Hawaiian and Maori Art from the James Hooper Collection, June 21, 1977, lot 35 Lynda Cunningham, New York, acquired at the above auction
Steven Phelps, Art and Artefacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas: the James Hooper Collection, London, 1976, p. 39, pl. 7, no. 47
Maori paddles, called hoe or hirau, have a distinctive flat and slender quality that distinguishes them from the broader dished paddles of their Polynesian neighbors. While some iterations of hoe may have intricate carvings or paintings, the beauty of this particular paddle manifests itself in its graceful curves and smooth surfaces. Its shape and form indicate that it was likely used solely for ceremonial purposes. Like all Maori carvings once they are completed, hoe are considered to have a mauri, or a life force, and are thus seen and treated with the same respect as living beings. Placing the paddle's tongue on the ground or stepping over the paddle, for example, are both considered to be highly disrespectful acts that dishonor the vital essence of the object.
Minor chips, nicks, scratches, and abrasions consistent with age and use. Two knots in the wood. 'S'-like character incised on the flat edge of the blade. Also on the flat edge of blade in white ink 'H. 47'. Fine reddish brown patina. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.