Maori Wood House Post Figure - Amo

12439. Maori Wood House Post Figure - Amo

New Zealand 19th Century

The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, who originated in eastern Polynesia and migrated to New Zealand between 1250 and 1300 AD. Over the course of several centuries in isolation, the Maori developed a complex culture heavily centered on a warrior ethos, as well as a system sacred and spiritual concepts.

This prominent ancestor wood tupuna figure painted in red once adorned a Maori meeting house and is likely a depiction of ancient warrior. The sense of aggressive movement created by the bold geometric forms portrays an ancestor engaged in the posture of a classic Maori haka, or war dance. With his tongue thrust out in defiance of his enemies, he stands as a guardian and protector. The Maori had a concept of sacred vs. non sacred, and often placed figures such as these either at the entrance of a meeting house or at a specific location inside the meeting house in order to delineate a shift between leaving a non-sacred space outside, and entering a sacred space in the meeting house interior.

The artist Paul Gauguin spent ten days in Auckland, New Zealand, en route to Tahiti and visited the Auckland Art Gallery and the Auckland Museum, where he captured a collection Maori carvings in a sketchbook, which would later appear in several of his major paintings.

Size: 41-1/2 inches (105 cm) Height. + custom mount.

Ex Mark & Carolyn Blackburn Hawaiian Collection.


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