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Polynesia and Micronesia

Polynesia, from the Greek for “many islands,” covers more than a thousand islands in the triangle roughly formed by the Hawaiian Islands, Easter Island, and New Zealand. Visual expressions of genealogy, power, and spirituality are seen in various motifs and designs across a variety of objects, including instruments, jewelry, weaponry, figures, and textiles.

Micronesia, “tiny islands,” consists of over 2,000 islands together composing a land area about the size of Rhode Island, spread over about three million square miles of ocean, with fewer than a hundred of them large and fertile enough for human habitation. Not as abundant as in either Polynesia or Melanesia, the visual arts tend to be simple in form and regular in design.

Ha’apai island group, Tonga
Female Figure
18th century (?)
Whale ivory
H. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.17

Raivavae, Austral Islands
Drum (Tariparau [Pahu-Ra])
1800–1850
Tamanu wood (Calophyllum inophyllum), sharkskin, sennit
H. 54 in. (137.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 80.5.3

Austral Islands or Tahiti, Society Islands
Fly-Whisk Handle
Before 1818
Whale ivory, wood, sennit
L. 12 5/16 in. (31.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.22

Marquesas Islands
Stilt Step (Tapuvae)
19th century
Wood
H. 17 ¾ in. (45.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.18

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Chest Ornament (Rei Miro)
19th century
Wood, obsidian, bone
W. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.23

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Male Figure (Moai Kavakava)
Early to mid-19th century
Wood, obsidian, bone
H. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 80.5.1

Hawai’i
Pendant Necklace (Lei Palaoa)
1800–1850
Walrus ivory, human hair, fiber
L. 13 7/8 in. (35.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 80.23

Māori peoples (Rongowhakaata group), Te Ika-a-Māui (North Island), Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Canoe Bailer (Tiheru or Tata)
Early 19th century
L. 17 5/8 in. (44.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 75.67

Māori peoples, Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Pendant (Hei Tiki)
19th century
Nephrite, haliotis shell
H. 9 in. (22.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 80.5.2

Fiji Islands
Oil Dish
19th century
Wood
L. 15 ½ in. (39.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 80.113

Fiji Islands
Throwing Club (I Ula Tavatava)
19th century
Wood
L. 16 ½ in. (41.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Ernst Anspach, 71.83.1

Tonga
Club, Apa’apai
Late 18th or early 19th century
Wood
L. 37 1/8 in. (94.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 77.34.5

Mangaia, Cook Islands
Ceremonial Adze
Early 19th century
Wood, basalt, fiber, sharkskin
L. 32 ¾ in. (83.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 74.43.2

Austral Islands
Fly-Whisk Handle (Tahiri Ra’a)
19th century
Wood, fiber
L. 15 ½ in. (39.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.9

Marquesas Islands
Figure (Tiki)
19th century or earlier
Basalt
H. 6 ¼ in. (15.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 97.1

Marquesas Islands
Headband (Uhikana)
19th century
Pearl shell, turtle shell, fiber
L. 19 3/8 in. (49.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.7

Marquesas Islands
Coronet (Paekaha)
19th century
Turtle shell, conch shell, fiber
W. 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Evan F. Lilly Memorial, 69.123

Marquesas Islands
Fan (Tahi)
19th century
Pandanus fiber, whale ivory, human teeth, pigment
W. 22 ½ in. (57.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.8

Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Lizard Figure (Moko Miro)
19th century
Wood, bone, obsidian
L. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.24

Hawai’i
Male Figure (Aumakua ki’i or Akua ki’i)
1800–1825
Wood, bark cloth
H. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift in honor of Roy Sieber, 82.41