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OCEANIC ART FROM THE ESTATE OF LYNDA CUNNINGHAM

Bark Cloth Beater, Cook Islands
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 3,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
55

OCEANIC ART FROM THE ESTATE OF LYNDA CUNNINGHAM

Bark Cloth Beater, Cook Islands
Estimate
2,0003,000
LOT SOLD. 3,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York

Bark Cloth Beater, Cook Islands
Inscribed in white ink by James Hooper: 'Cook Islands. Hooper Coll. No 969F.'
Length: 15 1/2 in (39.4 cm)
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Provenance

Reportedly from an old collection brought from Australia to England before 1900
Bates, Hampton Court, London
James Hooper, Arundel, acquired from the above in 1932
Christie's, London, Melanesian and Polynesian Art from the James Hooper Collection, June 19, 1979, lot 141
Lynda Cunningham, New York, acquired at the above auction

Literature

Steven Phelps, Art and Artefacts of the Pacific, Africa and the Americas: the James Hooper Collection, London, 1976, p. 140, pl. 76, no. 601

Catalogue Note

In the Cook Islands, as in many other cultures and regions of Polynesia, barkcloth (known as anga in the Cook Islands) was a highly versatile and flexible material that served a range of purposes. The material allowed islanders to produce everything from articles of clothing, such as loincloths and skirts, to the structural components of buildings. With ritual ceremonies, too, barkcloth was the basis of masks and of the supplementary adornments on religious carvings. To manufacture this textile, communities would enlist women, at times up to a few hundred at once, to strip bark from the paper mulberry plant and pound the fibers with beaters such as this one. Overseen by the chiefs’ wives, these women cultivated these skills over time, and their hard labor was well regarded. Barkcloth production declined rapidly, however, shortly after Europeans made contact with the islands of Polynesia and attempted to introduce woven cotton fabric to the native populations.

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York