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Object: Maripi (shark-tooth knife)

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Title Maripi (shark-tooth knife)
Production Unknown (carver), New Zealand
Medium summary shark teeth, wood, paua shell
Materials wood, paua shell, tooth
Classification knives
Technique carving
Dimensions Overall: 215mm (Length) x 53mm (Width)
Credit line Gift of Lord St Oswald, 1912
Registration number ME002493

This elaborately carved maripi (shark-tooth knife) is beautifully preserved and remains a fierce looking tool. Maripi were cutting tools made from wood and sharks’ teeth lashed into place by flax fibre. They were used to cut flesh, such as whale or shark, and for other utilitarian tasks. There are, however, some accounts that they were also used in battle.

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Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.