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James Edward Little

Maori-style Head


James Edward Little
Torquay, England, 1876 – Torquay 1953


Maori-style Head


Early 20th c.




30 x 16.5 cm


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


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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