Papahou (treasure box)


Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

This papa hou (treasure box) features elaborately carved surface decorations, consisting of päkati (dog tooth pattern) notches, haehae (parallel grooves), rauru spirals, and manaia (carved beaked figures) in profile. (Rauru are rauponga - an alternating pattern of päkati notches and haehae - when used as a spiral. The design is possibly named after Rauru, who is sometimes credited with being the first carver.) The various designs interlock with each other over the whole surface area. The figures at each end are carved horizontally. One is unfinished.

Stone toolingThe shallow relief and indistinct or roughly formed edges of the interlocking patterns strongly suggest that this papa hou was made using stone tools.

Papa hou and waka huiaThe rectangular form of papa hou is a northern variation of the more widespread waka huia, which are canoe shaped. The other main difference between the two forms is that papa hou are not carved on the bottom, whereas waka huia are.

AcquisitionThis papa hou was repatriated to New Zealand from Britain in 1958 as part of the K A Webster Collection bequeathed to the people of New Zealand.

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  • Title: Papahou (treasure box)
  • Date Created: 1800
  • Location Created: Auckland, New Zealand
  • Physical Dimensions: w460 x h60 x d135 mm
  • Type: containers
  • Rights: Bequest of Kenneth Athol Webster, 1971
  • External Link: Te Papa
  • Medium: Carved wood
  • carver: Unknown
  • Place Part Of: New Zealand
  • Object classification: containers
  • Material terms: wood

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