Wakahuia (treasure box); Unknown; 1800; WE001835
Wakahuia (treasure box)About this object
This waka huia (treasure box) is fully carved. The main design elements on the lid consist of anthropomorphic figures combined with zoomorphic manaia (carved beaked figures). These are further enhanced with pākati (dog tooth pattern) notches and rauru spirals. (Rauru are rauponga - an alternating pattern of pākati notches and haehae (parallel grooves) - when used as a spiral. The design is possibly named after Rauru, who is sometimes credited with being the first carver.) The ends of the box base taper off into large manaia heads. The side patterning is configured around three frontal masks with protruding tongues. Again, these are decorated with rauru spirals and pākati notching.
The shallow relief and indistinct or roughly formed edges of the main figures including surface decoration strongly suggest that this waka huia was made using stone tools.
Papa hou and waka huia
The rectangular form of papa hou is a northern variation of the more widespread waka huia, which are canoe shaped. The other main difference between the two forms is that papa hou are not carved on the bottom, whereas waka huia are.
Waka huia were used to contain the treasured personal adornments of both men and women - items such as hei tiki (pendants) and hüia (extinct New Zealand bird: Heteralocha acutirostris) feathers for decorating and dressing the hair. They were hung from the interior rafters of houses.
This waka huia was repatriated to New Zealand from Britain in 1958 as part of the K A Webster bequest to the people of New Zealand.
See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?oid=324044
75 x 480 x 95mmObject Type
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