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Lidded Bowl (Kotue)

Date:
late 18th–early 19th century
Geography:
Marquesas Islands
Culture:
Marquesan (Enata) people
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
H. 7 5/8 x L. 13 1/2 in. (19.4 x 34.3 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Containers
Credit Line:
Gift of Evelyn A. J. Hall, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.476.4a, b
  • Description

    The distinctive form of the lidded Marquesan bowls known as kotue
    suggests the body and tail of a bird adorned with a fully modeled human
    head. Only about a dozen of these remarkable vessels are known. Versatile
    as well as elegant, bird-shaped bowls were first described by European
    explorers in the eighteenth century, and a number of different functions are
    assigned to them in the historical sources. Fitted with removable lids to
    protect their contents, kotue were used to store a variety of items including
    popoi, a paste made from pounded breadfruit that is a staple of the
    Marquesan diet. They were also used to safeguard ornaments and other
    valuables as well as 'eka (turmeric), a precious yellow-orange powder used
    to adorn the skin.

  • Provenance

    Musée d'Histoire Naturelle et Ethnographie, La Rochelle, France; Evelyn A. J. Hall, New York, until 1986

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
314966

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