The Double Spiral
The peak of Maori curvilinear motifs was the double spiral. An interesting series of the double spiral was carved by Anaha and distinguished by specific names as shown in Figure 92. The piko rauru
) has a centre of two separate ends and the spirals are formed by close sharp-edged ridges. The takarangi
) has a circular centre and the spiral ridges are spaced page 315
with short beaded sections between them, thus resembling the war canoe spiral termed pitau
. The rauru
) has an elliptical centre and the spirals are formed of triple ridges separated by a beaded line. The maui
) is a variation of c
with a longer elliptical centre and the triple ridges and beaded lines go off at a tangent. In both c
, the elliptical centres are beaded. The whakaironui
) is formed by serrated flat ridges enclosing a looped centre and the turns are flattened on each side. The serrated ridges
Fig. 92. Double spirals, after Anaha.
a, pikorauru; b, takarangi; c, rauru; d, maui; e, whakaironui.
are separated by single sharp-edged ridges. The application of serrated edges to the various parts of a design is characteristic of the technique used on storehouses on piles.
The smaller spirals were extensively used to decorate the human figure, each spiral being usually supported on either side by parallel lines enclosing a median beaded line. The spirals were usually located above the middle of each eye and at the outer angles of the mouth. In tattooing designs on wood, they were carved on the cheeks and sometimes even on the central knob of the eye. On the upper limb, they were placed on the page 316front of the shoulder, the elbow, and sometimes on the wrist. On the lower limb, the buttock or upper thigh was selected and sometimes, the knees and above the feet. In larger figures, the spiral ridge was sometimes formed of a number of parallel ridges with a median beaded line, as in Figure 92c, d,and sometimes consisted of little beyond a looped or elliptical centre. Sometimes, the spiral centre was flattened out into long loops, as in Figure 92b.The spiral motif was treated in a variety of ways, much depending on the space to be "fitted" in the general design.
The most spectacular use of the double spiral was in the bow pieces of war canoes. The pierced form used was termed pitau
. When the original carver decided to use the large pitau
spiral to beautify the figure-
Fig. 93. Canoe bow pieces.
a, fishing canoe, after Hamilton (46, pl. 6); b, war canoe (Bishop Mus., no. 1424).
head of a war canoe, he had to create a new field for his contemplated design. The fishing canoes had a simple figure-head of a human head with a protruding tongue and a long neck sloping back to the horizontal bowcover which terminated at the aft end with a transverse vertical board as a splash-board (Fig. 93a).
With an artist's vision, the carver raised the head to a higher level to allow the addition of a body, arms, and legs. Instead of cutting out all the wood between the figure and the splash-board, a median vertical board was left connecting the forward human figure with the aft splash-board. This vertical fore-and-aft board provided the new field upon which the carver designed two large pitau
spirals, between and around which he fitted looped motifs in the spare spaces (Fig. 93b).
The large pierced spiral was also used as a conspicuous motif on door lintels. It was probably the double spiral of a lintel that Anaha carved (Fig. 92b)and named takarangi instead of pitau. The large motif was used in war canoe figure-heads throughout the North Island with the exception of the North Auckland area where smaller pierced spirals were used in a different design. The smaller pierced spirals were also used with page 317artistic effect on the carved stern pieces of war canoes. In house lintels, the large pierced spiral had a much narrower distribution for it had not been adopted in many districts beyond the area occupied by the Arawa tribe. The small spirals, however, were used on door lintels in many areas and their wider distribution indicates that the large pierced spiral was a later development. See Plate III.
Fig. 94. Parallel and beaded lines, after Anaha.
a, rauponga; b, whakatara; c, waharua; d, whakarare; e, unauna.