Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Coming of the Maori

Arrangement of Figures

Arrangement of Figures

In Maori carving, the human figure is the dominant motif and when the motif is repeated, particularly in long, horizontal designs such as the threshold beams (paepae) of houses and storehouses, variety is achieved by carving the figures alternately in full face and in profile. The profile figures are usually of the manaia type and this alternation is observed even in shorter designs such as door lintels. Archey (7, Pl 8) has illustrated this feature and drawn attention to its presence in Rarotonga in the page 314large staff gods (7, Pl. 8, 1), which he erroneously terms genealogy staves. In the Rarotongan staff gods (99, p. 321), the figures are alternately in full face and in profile.

Another form of arrangement occurs in vertical designs such as carved door jambs and carved entrances to forts, in which human figures with flexed legs stand on the head of the figure below. Curiously enough this also occurs in Rarotonga in a canoe ornament (99, p. 182) in which there are three vertical rows of five figures each, their flexed legs resting on the head below.

The taste for similar arrangements may have been shared by the ancestors of both people but, apart from that, their descendants went their own way and developed totally different patterns of carving the human form.