Collection Online

Pou tokomanawa (Post figure)
(c. 1950)

natural pigments on wood, pāua (Abalone)
148.0 × 30.5 × 18.7 cm
Place/s of Execution
New Zealand
Accession Number
Pacific Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Presented through the NGV Foundation by Todd Barlin, Governor, 2005
Gallery location
Not on display
The strongly carved figure, representing an ancestor would be the symbolic central support of the Maori community house. The solidity of the wood itself expresses hardness and substance. The surface decoration conveys energy and movement and the continuing vitality of the ancestor. The face is mesmerising, both ferocious and sensitive, the three-fingered hands comforting yet agile. The carving has short legs yet the composition is compressed, energetic and magnetic.