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Carved face

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Even though this enigmatic face is reminiscent of a mask, the Maori did not wear masks, nor did other Polynesians. In fact, this carving was originally attached to a horizontal handle with a smaller head at the other end. The complete object may have been a bird perch, net holder, ritual object,...

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1938, acquired in Cheltenham, England, by James Thomas Hooper (b. 1897 - d. 1971). May, 1981, sold by the Galerie Montbrison, Paris, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1994, gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 25, 1995)

Credit Line

Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel

Maori peoples, Aotearoa, New Zealand, 19th–20th century


15.24 cm (6 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, haliotis shell


Africa and Oceania