Object photography

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Object description

  • Maori artist
  • Pare (door lintel), before 1807
  • Kauri wood, wood
  • New Zealand (Aotearoa), Possibly Tai Tokerau, Northern Bay of Islands
  • H: 19 in, W: 40 in, D: 3 in (H: 48.3 cm, W: 101.6 cm, D: 7.6 cm)
  • Gift of Captain William Richardson, 1807
  • E5501


East India Marine Society Collection


This door lintel, "pare," "korupe," is elaborately carved and pierced, dominated by large female figure. This lintel, which according to Hamilton was made in the Bay of Plenty district, was collected by Captain Richardson at the Bay of Islands and donated in 1807. Korupe is defined as "outer facing of the lintel of door." Maori meetinghouses are comprised of elaborately carved architectural elements; each peice symbolizes a part of the ancester, who is represented by the house as a whole. Lintels are placed above the entrance door. The design consists of a large central female figure flanked by two manaia or mythical creatures. The placement of the 3-fingered hands on the stomach of the female figure and representation of the genital area indicate that this lintel depicts Te Kore - a mythological place of nothingness between non-being and being from which the primal parents of the Maori emerged. The 1821 catalogue of the EIMS - #559 - [incorrectly] refers to the pare as "Stern for a Canoe, carved with a stone chisel, by the natives of New South Wales." The pare is 19 x 40 x1.5" in size made of kauri wood. It is unclear weather stone, metal of a combination of both tools were used . It may have been painted with oil.

Exhibition History

  • Body Politics, Maori Tattoo Today, Peabody Essex Museum; February 23, 2008 through April 26, 2009