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Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Pendant (Hei Tiki)

For the Māori of New Zealand, nephrite, a form of jade, was the most prestigious material. Found only on New Zealand's South Island, the green stone was imported to the more populous North Island and used for weapons, tools, and ornaments, including pendants such as this. Worn suspended from a short flax cord around the neck, a hei tiki was the most treasured ornament that a person could own. An heirloom, it was passed down through generations and believed to acquire some of the spiritual power possessed by each wearer. Nearly all hei tiki are between two and seven inches tall, making this one of the largest known.

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