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Object: Matau (fish hook)

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Title Matau (fish hook)
Production Unknown (carver), early 19th century
Medium summary wood, bone, fibre
Materials bone, wood, cord
Classification fishhooks
Technique woodcarving
Dimensions Overall: 127mm (Length) x 100mm (Width)
Credit line Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992
Registration number OL000105

This large, composite fish hook has a curved wooden shank fashioned from a native hardwood sapling that was carefully restrained so that it would grow into the required shape.

An intricate object
The underside of the shank has been notched to give it a serrated edge. The shaft has been adorned with a small, well-carved head, to which a length of cord (aho) is attached. The barb is made from bone, probably albatross bone, and has been carefully worked into a finely serrated point. It has been bound to the shank with muka (flax fibre) cord, with small strips of raupo leaf inserted in-between to help set the binding.

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