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19th C. Tahitian Society Islands Basalt Poi Pounder

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19th C. Tahitian Society Islands Basalt Poi Pounder
Item Details
Description
French Polynesia, Tahiti, Society Islands, ca. 17th to 19th century CE. A fabulous and hefty pounder, hand-carved from pale-gray basalt, meant to pulverize the roots of the taro plant into poi. The tool has a thick neck, a T-shaped handle, and a hemispherical pounding face. The entire tool is incredibly smooth from repeated use, though some light roughness can be felt around the rim just above the pounding head. Finely crafted and sturdy in composition, this is an exquisite example from French Polynesia! Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 4.125" L x 3.375" W x 5.75" H (10.5 cm x 8.6 cm x 14.6 cm); 7.375" H (18.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Poi pounders, alongside adzes, were the most important stone tools in Polynesia (Europeans introduced steel weapons). They are used for pounding cooked taro root into poi, a staple of the islander diet. Taro root was steamed in an earthen oven, peeled using shells, and placed onto a slab of wood to be pounded. The pounded results were blended with water into a highly nutritious paste. Traditional calabash bowls were used as containers to hold poi mixtures, and traveling royalty were accompanied by their own poi maker, with his or her own poi-making implements like this one.

A similar example of a different color hammered for 25,000 Euro ($29,890) at Christie's, Paris (sale 1010, June 14, 2011, lot 90).

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#161996
Condition
Chips to periphery of pounding head and handle. Expected abrasions, commensurate with age and use. Otherwise, excellent.
Buyer's Premium
  • 26.5%

19th C. Tahitian Society Islands Basalt Poi Pounder

Estimate $2,600 - $3,900
Oct 21, 2021
See Sold Price
Starting Price $1,300
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0138A: 19th C. Tahitian Society Islands Basalt Poi Pounder
Lot Passed0 Bids
Est. $2,600 - $3,900Starting Price $1,300
Fall Antiquities & Ethnographic Art Auction
Oct 21, 2021 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 26.5%
Lot 0138A Details
Description
...
French Polynesia, Tahiti, Society Islands, ca. 17th to 19th century CE. A fabulous and hefty pounder, hand-carved from pale-gray basalt, meant to pulverize the roots of the taro plant into poi. The tool has a thick neck, a T-shaped handle, and a hemispherical pounding face. The entire tool is incredibly smooth from repeated use, though some light roughness can be felt around the rim just above the pounding head. Finely crafted and sturdy in composition, this is an exquisite example from French Polynesia! Custom museum-quality display stand included. Size: 4.125" L x 3.375" W x 5.75" H (10.5 cm x 8.6 cm x 14.6 cm); 7.375" H (18.7 cm) on included custom stand.

Poi pounders, alongside adzes, were the most important stone tools in Polynesia (Europeans introduced steel weapons). They are used for pounding cooked taro root into poi, a staple of the islander diet. Taro root was steamed in an earthen oven, peeled using shells, and placed onto a slab of wood to be pounded. The pounded results were blended with water into a highly nutritious paste. Traditional calabash bowls were used as containers to hold poi mixtures, and traveling royalty were accompanied by their own poi maker, with his or her own poi-making implements like this one.

A similar example of a different color hammered for 25,000 Euro ($29,890) at Christie's, Paris (sale 1010, June 14, 2011, lot 90).

Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#161996
Condition
...
Chips to periphery of pounding head and handle. Expected abrasions, commensurate with age and use. Otherwise, excellent.
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