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adze

Before the introduction of iron, this tool was used for cutting timber. The stone head is bound to a flat foot, differing to Central Polynesian adzes, where the blade is set into the haft.

adze

The English word ‘tattoo’ comes from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’ - ‘to inflict wounds’. The blade was dipped in ink and skilfully tapped into the skin. This painful process is often connected with ceremony, lineage and social status.

adze

Originally adzes of this kind were a form of god image, possibly related to Tane-mata-ariki. The stone blades were not only tools, but also exchange valuables. Often the blades predate the handles, which were normally long and straight. The coir fibre binding that held the blade to the handle was meant to be intricate to reflect the item’s power. When missionary influence spread in the 1820s and Cook Islanders converted to Christianity, these adzes lost their ceremonial potency and were widely collected and local specialists began making them for sale as curios. This item is a late development and was likely produced post-1820.

adze

Adzes of this kind were a form of god image, possibly related to Tane-mata-ariki. The stone blades were not only tools, but also exchange valuables. Often the blades predate the handles. When missionary influence spread in the 1820s and Cook Islanders converted to Christianity, these adzes were widely collected and local specialists began making them for sale as curios.

adze

Prior to the availability of metal tools stone was the main domestic tool for carving. There were many distinctive styles made from volcanic stone such as basalt. Adzes were usually hafted with its cutting edge at right angle to the handle. Large adzes were employed for felling trees but smaller adzes were used for finishing work.

adze

Prior to the availability of metal tools stone was the main domestic tool for carving. There were many distinctive styles made from volcanic stone such as basalt. Adzes were usually hafted with its cutting edge at right angle to the handle. Large adzes were employed for felling trees but smaller adzes were used for finishing work.