Ceremonial Staff

New Zealand

Carved wood
Circa 1840 – 1960
Height : 17 in. (43 cm)

Ex collection Frits Lemaire, Amsterdam
Ex private estate Aachen, Germany
Ex collection Kevin Conru, Brussels

New Beginnings – Parcours des Mondes 2017

Price: sold

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This sculpture presents a spectacular tangle of human figures decorated with the curvilinear motifs characteristic of New Zealand Maori art.
The precise function of the sculpture is difficult to determine, even if its iconography seems to be related to genealogy staffs.
Genealogy (whakapapa) occupied a primordial place at the heart of the traditional societies of New Zealand. The Maori claim to be able to retrace their ancestry to the first great migrations coming from Western Polynesia.
Their chiefs were considered to be direct descendants of the gods and incarnated their supernatural power (mana).
Looking at the sculpture presented here, the eyes of the viewer are immediately drawn to the powerful figures of ancestors and warriors which appear to emerge from and melt back into infinite spirals.