Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 5. 1965.
The Decorative Arts of the New Zealand Maori, by T. Barrow. Wellington. Reeds, 1964. Reviewed by Richard Chrisp. This book is a colourful summary of Maori arts and artifacts. It covers tattooing, personal ornaments, stone and woodwork, taniko weaving, the making of tukutuku panels, weapons of war, feather cloaks, and the arts pertaining to religion and death.
The outstanding feature of the book is the enhancing of each section by extremely good colour and black and while illustrations. These convey most effectively the feel and texture of the wood, bone and greenstone articles, which the accompanying text describes adequately.
The colour photographs illustrating the tattoo patterns are particularly attractive; the artistic arrangement of the material is pleasing; and this, combined with the good quality of the photographs makes a major contribution to the book's appeal.
The comments on the historical significance of the arts depicted are concise, interesting and show how closely the art of the Maori was integrated with his everyday living. The book succeeds in giving an authentic picture of the Maori, the manner in which he lived, and his special gifts as a creative artist. Notwithstanding its academic title, it may be recommended to the general reader with an interest in Maori art.