A Rare Shell Octopus Lure ‘Poreho’ from Tahiti, the Society Islands

A Rare Shell Octopus Lure ‘Poreho’ from Tahiti, the Society Islands

1800 to 1900 Tahiti, the Society Islands

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A Rare Shell Octopus Lure ‘Poreho’ from Tahiti, the Society Islands,
Polynesia
Wood, cowry and pearl shell, fibre
19th Century

Size: 29.5 cm long – 11½ ins long
See Finch and Co catalogue no. 3, item no. 43, for a Hawaiian Islands Octopus lure and sinker
The 18th century collector and dealer George Humphrey states that these were a ‘bait or decoy used in fishing made on the backs of cowry shells in imitation of some animal, the head is formed of a cowry shell and it has a double tail made in a square form of plaited twine curiously done ….. from the Society Isles’.
Irmgard Moschner notes ( Die Wiener Cook – Sammlung 1955 pg. 191 ) ‘one sailed with the boat past the coral reef caves where the octopus waited for their prey, let the lures hang over board and tugged at the line. The octopus sucked firmly onto the supposed prey and were then pulled up into the boat’.
Dimensions
Height 29.50 cm (11.61 inches)
Medium
Wood, cowry and pearl shell, fibre
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