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Object: Toki pounamu (nephrite adze blade)

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Title Toki pounamu (nephrite adze blade)
Production Unknown (stonemason), 1500-1800, New Zealand
Medium summary Manufactured by hand using stone, sandstone, and water.
Materials pounamu
Classification adzes, toki, hand tools, blades
Technique lapidary
Dimensions Overall: 314mm (Length) x 63mm (Width) x 22mm (Depth)
Credit line Gift of Alexander Turnbull, 1913
Registration number ME002965

This is a well-made, long and narrow toki (adze) pounamu (New Zealand greenstone). It has a hole through which cord could be threaded for easy transportation by suspending it from the wearer's neck.

Toki poutangata
Large toki such as this were important wood carving tools. They also played an important role in tribal ceremonial ritual associated with adzing, tree-felling, and even execution. Examples such as this were often hafted to elaborately carved handles and became toki poutangata (ceremonial adzes), to be wielded by rangatira (chiefs) and tohunga (spiritual leaders and master craftsmen).

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