The distinctive form of the lidded Marquesan bowls known as kotuesuggests the body and tail of a bird adorned with a fully modeled humanhead. Only about a dozen of these remarkable vessels are known. Versatileas well as elegant, bird-shaped bowls were first described by Europeanexplorers in the eighteenth century, and a number of different functions areassigned to them in the historical sources. Fitted with removable lids toprotect their contents, kotue were used to store a variety of items includingpopoi, a paste made from pounded breadfruit that is a staple of theMarquesan diet. They were also used to safeguard ornaments and othervaluables as well as 'eka (turmeric), a precious yellow-orange powder usedto adorn the skin.