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Currently shown

Ceremonial Funnel (korere)

Location

NEW ZEALAND (AOTEAROA), SOUTHWEST NORTH ISLAND

Culture

Maori

Title

Ceremonial Funnel (korere)

Date

Early 19th c.

Materials

Wood, mother-of-pearl inlays

Dimensions

19.3 x 12 x 13.2 cm

Credits

Purchase, gift of F. Cleveland Morgan, inv. 1959.Pc.8

Collection

Archeology and World Cultures

The notion of mana, or supernatural power, is fundamental in Maori spirituality and social organization. It goes hand in hand with the concept of tapu, a system of religious prohibitions. Tattooing (tā moko) conveys an individual’s genealogy, social connections and spirituality. The head of a high-ranking man whose face was being tattooed was tapu. A funnel like this was therefore used to feed him in order to prevent food from coming into contact with his mouth, which would be swollen from the tattooing, as well as reduce the risk of physical – and spiritual – contamination. To this day, cooked food is considered impure and is not allowed in the sacred space of a meeting house.

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