Open today 10 am – 5 pm

Canoe Bow Piece

Image is Not Available
Object Number:P3109
Current Location: Collections Storage
Provenience: New Zealand
Credit Line:Purchased from W. O. Oldman, 1912


Canoe bow piece. This carved bow piece for a Maori war canoe is of a style that features two large pierced scrolls and, at the front, a human figure with tongue protruding and arms thrown back. Sticking out the tongue was (and is) a Maori gesture of defiance. According to Maori tradition, New Zealand ( Aotearoa ) was settled by a fleet of seagoing canoes. A tribal group might refer to itself as a waka (canoe), meaning that the members of the group were descended from the crew of a particular, named canoe. The Maori war canoe ( waka taua ) was not only a vessel used to transport warriors, but a sacred symbol of the village that built it. The waka taua was also seen as a manifestation of the collective body and spirit of the ancestors and of the power ( mana ) transmitted from them to the community.

Current & Past Exhibitions:

Discovering the Past: Highlights from the University Museum (IBM) (20 Jun 1989 - 20 Aug 1989) View Objects in Exhibition


[Catalogue] Simmons, D. R. 1982. Catalogue of Maori Artefacts in the Museums of Canada and the United States of America.. Auckland. Bulletin of the Auckland Institute and Museum. Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: Pl. 219View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Hall, Henry U. 1935. "Maori War Canoe Ornaments". The University Museum Bulletin. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Vol. 5. no. 5. pg. 55-59 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 56View Objects related to this Actual Citation
[Article] Hall, Henry U. 1920. "Maori Wood Carving and Moko". The Museum Journal. Philadelphia. The University Museum. Vol. 11. no. 4. pg. 212-244 Actual Citation : Page/Fig./Plate: p. 226View Objects related to this Actual Citation

You may also be interested in these objects:

Report problems and issues to digitalmedia@pennmuseum.org.