Ɵ Hei Tiki Pendant, Maori, New Zealand
Probably 19th century
H. 14.2 cm
Maori Hei Tiki Figural Pendant, New Zealand
H. 51/2 in
- Herr von Hacke, Gauting, Germany
- Private collection, acquired from Herr von Hacke, then by descent
- Christie's London, December 1, 1993 (lot 207)
- Private collection
On long-term loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 1, 2007 - August 2017, inv. L.2007.61.11
The work of this Maori sculptor is exceptional, both in the choice of the thick and wide jadeite - which has not been carved into the narrow body of an axe - and of a sustained green, and in the realization of this deep Hei Tiki of sculpture on a body of beautiful breadth.
The inclined planes due to the depth of the sculpture confer a tension of curves and counter-curves. The head tilted to the right is strongly marked by eyes with deep orbits (the inclusion of shells having disappeared) and a wide mouth reminiscent of the shape of a heart. Numerous details, such as the work of the ribs or fingers, give great refinement to this work.
Hei Tiki pendants in nephrite were worn by notables, both men and women. Presented as an ornament, they were both signs of power and authority, but they also held the power of the sacred tapur.
When you hold this Hei Tiki in your hand, it is distinguished by its presence, its weight, and exudes great sensuality to the touch.
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