Gable Mask (Koruru)
Arts of the Pacific Islands
The Maori believed certain structures—communal meeting houses, the houses of chiefs, and some food storage buildings—symbolized the body of an important ancestor, with the ridgepole indicating the backbone, the rafters the ribs, and the slanting facade boards the arms. Placed at the apex of the gable, the gable mask depicts the face of the honored ancestor.
Wood, pāua shell
19 7/8 x 10 3/4 x 1 7/8 in. (50.5 x 27.3 x 4.8 cm) (show scale)
"03.217" written in black on back of head; blue-rimmed label reads: "Carved Mask, from Paus[sp?], or Maori Chiefs House - (very old) New-Zealand"
This item is not on view
Brooklyn Museum Collection
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Maori. Gable Mask (Koruru), ca. 1860. Wood, pāua shell, 19 7/8 x 10 3/4 x 1 7/8 in. (50.5 x 27.3 x 4.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, 03.217. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 03.217_PS9.jpg)
overall, 03.217_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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Carved wooden ornament for a house gable in the form of a human face with pieces of pāua shell inserted in the eyes; richly carved
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