Object: Mata kura (ceremonial mask)
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|Title||Mata kura (ceremonial mask)|
Unknown (carver), 1800, New Zealand
x 185.02mm (Width)
x 111.95mm (Depth)
|Credit line||Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992|
Thiscarved wooden mask depictsa naturalstic human head with awell carved the face and astrong masculine contour, pierced eyes,and mouth; and finished with a nearly complete full-facial moko (incised tattoo). The overall effect is dramatic and powerful.
The mask has a deep rich patina with red coloured accents. The reverseis hollowed and shaped as if it was made to be worn. However, it has been carved from a dense and heavy wood, whichmakes itimpracticalas a face mask. It also has pierced wooden lugs on the side that suggest it was originally affixed or fastened to a support or structure.
Its purpose remains unclear but it may have been made to represent an ancestral figure on an archistectural structure, used ceremonially, or possibly erected to signify an area restricted by tapu (sacred) or to mark a boundary between two tribal groups.
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.