Tikopia Island, Polynesian outliers, Melanesia
H. 40 cm – W. 69.5 cm

Wood and fibers

Provenance:  M. Pendergrast collection (1932-2010), New Zealand

These objects essentially made it possible to grate the pulp of the coconut, while seated, using a shell or mother-of-pearl blade attached to the left end. Sometimes this seat also allowed the chief to be elevated during assemblies. Its use can be observed in a photograph published by Raymond Firth in 1936 in the famous work We, The Tikopia A Sociological Study of Kindship in Primitive Polynesia, pl.XIb. A close example of a coconut grater is kept at the Metropolitan Museum in New York under the reference 1979.206.1490.

Photo © Hughes Dubois

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