Tikopia island, Polynesian outliers, Melanesia
L. 84 cm – H. 18.5 cm


Provenance: former N. Michoutouchkine collection, Port-Villa, Vanuatu

Publication: Ivanova, L., Michoutouchkine, N., Catalog of the Exhibition “Ethnography And Art Of Oceania” of N. Michoutouchkine – A. Pilioko Foundation”, Moscow, Ministry of Culture of the USSR, 1989, p. 90, No. 382.

Tikopia, whose area is only five square kilometers for a thousand inhabitants, is made up of an old volcano of which Lake Te Roto is the old crater. The island was sighted for the first time by Pedro Fernández de Quirós on April 21, 1606. The first Christian missionaries set foot on Tikopia in 1857, and the first conversions of the inhabitants date from 1900. The objects of Tikopia are, because of the size of its island and its isolation, extremely rare in public and private collections. Thus, in the extraordinary collections of the Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford, England, there are only four Tikopia objects, the Fuller collection of the Field Museum in Chicago holding only two. The anthropologist Raymond Firth, to whom we owe the principal knowledge of the mores and customs of the inhabitants of Tikopia, expresses himself thus about the wooden objects of the island: […] “In general, the traditional objects of Tikopia, whether sacred or profane, are valued for their overall shape and personal affiliations, not for the amount and characteristics of adornments applied to them. » […]

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