Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Waka Huia - Treasure Boxes

I photographed these beautiful carved waka huia (feather or treasure boxes) at Otago Museum in Dunedin recently. It's a name I love - waka huia - and as a collector of boxes and, in the past, of feathers too, I could only gaze in awe at these beautiful examples of traditional Maori craft.
According to the museum display notes "these elaborately carved boxes were used to store huia tail feathers and other prized possessions. There are two basic shapes ofwaka huia - the rectangular and canoe (waka) or oval forms. As they were intended to be hung from the roofs of houses, the bottoms of the boxes were as well decorated as the sides and lid. Male and female figures, sometimes copulating, are usually incorporated int the carving." www.otagomuseum.govt.nz

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