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Currently shown
James Edward Little

Maori-style Head

Artist

James Edward Little
Torquay, England, 1876 – Torquay 1953

Title

Maori-style Head

Date

Early 20th c.

Materials

Wood

Dimensions

30 x 16.5 cm

Credits

Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1958.Pc.4

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

According to D. R. Simmons, former curator of the Auckland Museum, this mask is a fake made by one of the most prolific forgers of Maori art, the Englishman James Edward Little, using a mummified tattooed head (mokomokai). An antique dealer by profession, Little turned himself into a dealer in Oceanic art about 1900, having noticed the art market’s interest at the time in works from the region. Even though he had never set foot in New Zealand, he produced fakes that fooled collectors around the world for years.

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