View full screen - View 1 of Lot 14. Inlaid Headrest, Tonga.
14

Inlaid Headrest, Tonga

Restricted Species

Estimate:

50,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Property from an American Private Collection

Inlaid Headrest, Tonga

Inlaid Headrest, Tonga

Estimate:

50,000

to
- 60,000 USD

Property from an American Private Collection

Inlaid Headrest, Tonga

Sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) tooth inlays


Length: 16 in (40.6 cm)

To request a condition report for this lot, please contact Gaia.Lettere@sothebys.com

David Shaw King, San Francisco
Lance and Roberta Entwistle, London, acquired from the above
American Private Collection, acquired from the above in 1991
In Tonga, the head was the most tapu, or sacred part of the body, and in sleep it was appropriate to rest one’s head on a carefully made headrest, or kali. There are several forms of kali, all of which demonstrate the elegance and economy of form characteristic of Tongan sculpture. This graceful headrest is of the kali hahapo form, but the marine ivory inlays, or lei, distinguish it as a rare kali lei, a type “often most most prized on account of its whale-tooth ivory inlay”. (Keith St Cartmail, The Art of Tonga: Ko e ngaahi ‘aati ‘o Tonga, Honolulu, 1997, p. 55).