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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "New Zealand Maori Orator’s Staff Top"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
An old colonial silver mount to the shaft
Smooth silky rich brown patina
Early 19th Century
Size: 24.5cm long - 9½ ins long
Waterhouse was a Methodist Minister who supervised the Wesleyan Missions in Australia and Polynesia in the 1830’s. His son George Waterhouse (1824-1906) was Premier of South Australia and then of New Zealand. His Great-Nephew was Sir Ellis Waterhouse, the Art Historian
cf: Hooper Collection, Steven Phelps; plate 28, no134
The Maori method of tattooing was painful and of great significance. It was usually carried out in a temporary shelter erected in an area declared ‘tapu’. A variety of chisels were used, often made with elaborately carved bone handles, and having a cutting edge up to a centimetre or more in width. The design was traced and the chisel dipped into a mixture of soot and plant juice. The prepared chisel was then placed in position and the cutting edge driven through the skin with a sharp blow on the back of the instrument. Tattoo designs varied from region to region and represented more than just personal adornment showing both the lineage, status and military honours of the wearer.