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Maori figure (Tekoteko)

There are several cracks running through the figure and a chip on the belly. CULT Maori, Rangitani tribe late 18th century New Zealand Polynesia This Maori carving of a standing female figure has an elongated head with rounded eyes set on the sides of the head, rounded lips and flared nostrils. She wears a topknot and has three-fingered hands folded on her belly as a symbol of conception. These is a ridged panel for support carved between her legs and the square post on which she stands may have been intended to slot into something, perhaps to allow her to function as an upright support for the roof ridge of a meeting house or Chief's house, or on the fence of a stockade surrounding a fort. Feathers or decorations of some kind were possibly attached to the topknot.
This image has been included in the Robertson catalogue on unknown evidence as 'William Hunter from Captain Cook', however Adrienne Kaeppler was doubtful that this figure came from a Cook voyage. The coating of dark varnish indicates that the object is from the Old Hunterian Collection and it may be one of several 'idols' mentioned in Captain Laskey's 1813 account of the museum.
It has been coated in black varnish, implying it was part of William Hunter's original collection, and was collected on a Cook voyage. Attribution per Steven Hooper, Feb 2007.