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Hei tiki Pendant

Location

NEW ZEALAND (AOTEAROA), NORTH ISLAND, TARANAKI REGION

Culture

Maori

Title

Hei tiki Pendant

Date

18th c.

Materials

Nephrite, vegetable fibre, bone, mother-of-pearl inlays

Dimensions

30.6 x 7 x 2.6 cm

Credits

Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1955.Pc.6

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

A hei tiki – literally, a human-shaped pendant – is a piece of jewellery worn by men and women of high rank on special occasions. There is no consensus as to the being depicted. The Maori attribute the power of fertility to such a pendant: women wear it to ensure childbirth goes smoothly, among other reasons. Its power increases through accumulating the spiritual force (mana) of its owners as it is passed on from generation to generation.

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