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Object with Two Carved Heads

An unknown object with two heads, one large and one small, at the two ends of a wooden pole. The eyes are inlaid with shell.

An unknown object with two heads, one large and one small, at the two ends of a wooden pole. The eyes are inlaid with shell.

Culture M?ori
Title Object with Two Carved Heads
Date 18th?19th century
Medium Wood, haliotis shell, and and flax
Dimensions Object: 9 1/4 × 2 3/4 × 5 1/4 in. (23.5 × 7 × 13.3 cm)
Overall: 9 1/4 x 2 3/4 x 5 1/4 in. (23.5 x 7 x 13.3 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2010.19

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About this Work

This object is unusual in that even through scholars are unable to agree upon its use (is it the end of a latrine bar, a fishing rod, a bird perch, a canoe prow ornament, or something yet to be suggested?), its authenticity and identification as M?ori is absolute and unquestionable. Many other objects of this form are also known and sometimes referred to only as a ?ritual object.? The tiki motif (a representation of the human form ? sometimes only the eyes) and birdlike features are characteristic of M?ori carving, as are the geometric patterns, the figure-eight mouth, and the inlay eyes. The object is real, just not well understood.


Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information on the provenance of European paintings, sculptures, and drawings produced before 1946, please see our Nazi-Era Provenance Research Project. For all other inquiries, please contact the department curator with specific questions.


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"Object with Two Carved Heads | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2023. https://artmuseum.indiana.edu/collections-online/browse/object.php?number=2010.19