Volume 45 1936 > Memoirs > No. 14 The Oldman collection of Maori artefacts, by W. O. Oldman, p 11-16
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Memoir No. 14
Supplement to the Journal of the Polynesian Society.
THE OLDMAN COLLECTION OF MAORI ARTIFACTS

The accompanying plates (35-46) form the fourth group published of a series of Polynesian specimens selected from the private museum of Mr. W. O. Oldman, of London, who supplies notes and measurements.

INSTALMENT No. 4

Pages 11—15

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PLATE 35

580 War Trumpet (Putatara). Triton shell body worn smooth with use, edge pierced with hole. Mouthpiece of hard brown wood well carved and much polished with use. The binding at junction with shell is covered with red sealing wax. Length, 10½ins. Very old and finer than no. 36, plate 33.

578 Feeding Funnel. Dark brown hard wood, deeply carved. The main figure (female) has the ribs of body pierced through as also is the tongue and mouth; two smaller figures on mouthpiece, the flat rim of bowl is carved and much worn. Top, 5⅞x4⅞ins. Height, 6ins. A fine and massive old specimen of the same type as no. 135, plate 24.

171 Small box supported by a seated figure with soles of feet greatly enlarged forming a base; head is well carved and eyes inlaid shell; the sliding cover has a projection to fit into mouth. Sides of box covered with coarse carving. Size, 5x3x4½ins. high. From the collection of O. Belsham, formed about 1846. (There is considerable divergence of opinion as to the use of these small boxes: tinder or punk for kindling fire, trinkets, tattooing implement blades and pigment have all been mentioned.

565 Cartridge Plug, hard wood carved with two conventionalized masks, carving showing decadent design. Length, 4ins. by ¾in. diameter. Used for making fern cartridge cases for black powder. Taken in the last Maori War.

SELECTION FROM MY COLLECTION OF FORTY-THREE FEATHER BOXES (WAKA-HUIA OR PAPAHOU), SHOWING PRINCIPAL VARIETIES.
PLATE 36

3 Treasure chest or feather box of exceptional size, boldly carved with male and female figures in low relief, large heads with protruding tongues, small parrot's heads for ears. The lid, which is sunk into a rebate, is beautifully carved with two figures (male and female) in very high relief and pierced through in places; one hand of male figure is coming out of mouth and grasping the tongue; two square holes are pierced in lid to bind a crack (a native mend). The eyes of all the figures are solid, not recessed for shell inlay. Length, 2ft. 7ins; width, 9⅝ins.; height, 9½ins. This came together with nos. 4 and 10 from the museum of Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson, Bt. (Lieut. R.N., born 1829), Charlton House, Kent. No. 750 in original catalogue which stated they were brought to England by “Cook the Explorer.”

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PLATE 37

1 Rectangular, carved with figures on base, sides and lid, mostly female, the larger ones have mythological bird figures (kaka) each side of head (parallel in India of Vishnu and doves). In between large figures are Atuas with eel-like bodies possibly representing Tuna, the eel god (?). At ends of box are 6-in. figures in high relief (¾in.) undercut and pierced. The lid fits into a shaped recess and is carved with nine figures, partly unfinished. Length, 18½ins.; width, 6ins.; height, 4½ins. One side and lid shown in photograph. This box belonged to the late Major-General Robley. It was given by the Rev. C. S. Volckner, who was murdered at Opotiki by Kereopa, 2nd March, 1865, to his sister Mrs. Lanfear prior to 1860.

PLATE 38

328 Square type, base has two large figures (male and female) in relief with heads projecting each end, also two other figures and two masks, one with blind eye. On each side are five large masks. Lid has a raised ridge carved and pierced with two figures. Shell eyes. Length, 16¾ins.; width, 4⅛ins.; height, 4ins.

4 Square type, base deeply carved with four Atuas (one female) with eel-like bodies and limbs with three-fingered hands and feet, sides carved in similar way. Projecting heads at end. Square domed lid fitting into a rebate, carved with thigh-tattooing design (puhoro) similar to box no. 10. Length, 20½ins.; width, 5½ins.; height, 3½ins. Ex collection Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson. Said to be a Cook relic. See no. 3.

PLATE 39

331 Three Atuas in low relief on base, end figures (one male) pierced. Sides have each three figures (one female). Shaped and domed lid fitting into rebate, carved with “thigh” design exactly like no. 10. Length, 21ins.; width, 6¼ins.; height, 3¼ins.

5 Similar form. End figures (one female) have their tongues pierced. Three female Atuas on base. Sides carved with puhoro pattern terminating each end with side-faced masks. Shaped lid fitting into rebate in box carved with two Atuas partly pierced evidently to attach a cord. Length, 23ins.; width, 5ins.; height, 3ins.

6 Similar, much bolder carving, base and lid have two Atuas with very elongated heads in high relief. Sides carved with puhoro designs. Pierced figures at ends (one head missing). All the six figures are female. Length, 22½ins.; width, 6½ins.; height, 2½ins. This belonged to Sir James Cotter, of Rockfort Mallow, Co. Cork, and “It was brought back by a member of the family several generations ago” (extract from letter).

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PLATE 40

16 Rectangular shallow box of great age. Very unusual carving. Base has two main figures with curious projecting double flat heads facing upwards and downwards, pierced. The two centre figures have large heads continued on sides which have other figures. Deep square lid rebate. Length, 25ins.; width, 6½ins.; height, 3ins.

7 Carving on base, sides and ends only partly finished. The heads of figures are curious in their rectangular treatment. Shaped recessed lid, plain. Length, 24ins.; width, 7¾ins.; height, 3½ins.

PLATE 41

484 Base carved all over. Ends have double masks, pierced, shaped sunk lid with two Atuas (female) in high relief, bodies pierced through, below each figure is a small mask (corner missing). Very ancient. Length, 17¼ins.; width, 3½ins.; height, 2ins.

2 Very finely carved and pierced. Base has three figures (two male, one female) in high relief and partly undercut. The sides have each four figures (three male, one female) in high relief. Ends carved and pierced with two double figures (unfinished). Lid has centre ridge, carving just commenced. Length, 17¼ins.; width, 4½ins.; height, 4½ins. Collected by the late Major-General Robley.

PLATE 42

12 Pierced ridges of figures on base and lid, traces of red and black colouring in carving. Large mask at one end. Length, 15½ins.; width, 3ins.; height, 3¼ins.

569 Base covered with carving of poor design, two masks with protruding tongues at ends. Lid has two large slightly raised figures with a ridge of small figures connecting them, this is pierced. Eyes inlaid with obsidian and shell. Length, 16¼ins.; width, 3½ins.; height, 3ins.

485 Curious narrow box with large masks turned sideways, well carved and pierced in an unusual way behind the nose. Body of box covered with coarse carving coloured red and black. Length, 17⅛ins.; width, 2ins.; height, 1½ins.

PLATE 43

17 Shallow, of great age. Figures (male and female) on base. Lid has a small mask one end extending into rim of box, pierced masks at end. Length, 13¼ins.; width, 2½ins.; height, 1¼ins. Lid has native mend. Collected by Admiral Paynter.

10 Rectangular, base and sides covered with carving of thigh-tattooing design (puhoro), ends plain. Shaped lid fitting into rebate in box, carved with ordinary design similar to that on base of no. 621. Length, 15⅞ins.; width, 5½ins.; height, 3ins. Ex collection Sir Spencer Maryon-Wilson. See no. 3. Said to be a Cook relic.

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PLATE 43—continued

19 Rectangular, rounded, covered all over with sharply cut design similar to no. 10. Male and female figures at ends, slightly pierced. Length, 16ins.; width, 4½ins.; height, 2½ins. Belonged to Brig.-General Grant.

15 Oval, body and lid covered with beautifully executed spirals, large masks at ends with projecting crested foreheads. Lid and one end of box have fractures mended by the original Maori owner with square cut holes and flax binding. One large eye sunk for shell inlay introduced in carving on lid. Length, 22½ins.; width, 6½ins.; height, 3¼ins. This box is reputed to have been brought to England by Captain Cook's last expedition, 1776.

621 Very heavy hard wood, crude work, two large figures (female), large projecting heads, pierced tongues, deep rebate for lid. Length, 21ins.; width, 4ins.; height, 2¼ins.

18 Ancient crude box carved with large curious figures (unfinished), lid plain. Has been in a fire. Length, 13ins.; width, 3⅜ins.; height, 2½ins. From the Akaroa district. Sent to France by one of the earliest French settlers.

PLATE 44

9 Oval type, base carved with large figures in relief each end, ribs carved on bodies, large projecting heads well carved with moko. The lid has two figures (male and female) in relief, ribs shown. Length, 24ins.; width, 8½ins.; height, 6½ins.

329 Another of similar type. The raised figures are of finer quality. Curious square cavity near one figure. Length, 19ins.; width, 6½ins.

561 Oval type, base carved all over and with small female figures at ends, native mend of small crack in bottom. Rim of box started to be carved. Sunk lid plain but with a raised 8½in. figure in centre, hands are raised to head. One original shell eye. Length, 19½ins.; width, 5¼ins.; height, 3½ins. This box together with teki no. 562 were in the possession of the late Dr. J. H. Salter, of Malden, Essex, for over seventy years.

14 Oval type, base carved with four large spirals, two unusually large figures at ends, one (unfinished) has parrot's heads on legs and arms, small projecting head. The other figure (female) is fully carved and has large eyes for shell inlay carved on each side of body. In place of a head there is a projecting pierced “tail!” The lid has a fine raised and pierced 6½in. figure, carving unfinished. Length, 18ins.; width, 4½ins.; height, 4½ins. Belonged to the Misses H. and B. Godfrey-Faussett in whose family it had been since 1820.

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PLATE 45

482 Rectangular, base and sides covered figures (male and female). Ends are covered with very large heads of the main figures on base. Shaped and sunk lid carved with design similar to base of no. 621. Exactly like no. 10 which is also a rectangular box. Length, 11½ins.; width, 4¾ins.; height, 2¾ins. Extremely old.

573 Slightly tapering, shallow, base has a very irregular surface and is covered with spirals, etc., of no particular pattern. Lid has two 4½in. masks in relief connected with a pierced ridge. Length, 14¼ins.; width, 3¾ins.; height, 2¼ins. Very early specimen, traces of burning on base.

13 Narrow, very thick heavy wood, rectangular interior, rounded off exterior with sloping ends. Base and lid each covered with two figures combined with curious interlaced work. Length, 14½ins.; width, 2½ins.; height, 4ins. Ex Old collection from Oatlands Mere, Weybridge.

11 Unusual type, base deeply carved with entwined eel-like monsters, sides covered with shallow spirals. Small pierced lugs at ends. Lid has shallow carving of “rafter” or moko design. Length, 14ins.; width, 3ins.; height, 2ins. Brought to England by Capt. James Wilson, 1796-7, together with Heads nos. 121-3 (figs. 1 and 2).

PLATE 46

20 Feasting Bowl (kumete), finely carved with six figures in shallow relief and two others in high relief at ends with projecting heads (one male). One badly chipped. Flat rim. Length, 40½ins.; width, 14¼ins.; height, 5½ins.

500 Small bowl. Massive, boldly and well cut spirals, traces of red in carving. Rim partly carved. Large projecting double heads with crested forehead, the mouths of two appear to be parrots (?). Length, 12¼ins.; width, 7ins.; height, 3½ins.

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