This Mangarevan male tiki is associated with the deity Rongo (Hawai’i: Lono). Piercing through the sky on the arc of a rainbow, Rongo is responsible for the rains that sustain the vital breadfruit crop. Carved in the fullness of youth, this wooden figure references the agricultural abundance that was sought through the ritual presentation of the first fruits of the season to the gods. These ceremonies accompanied the appearance on the horizon of the cluster of stars known as Matariki (Pleiades).
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Title:Male figure (tiki) representing the deity Rongo
Date:Early 19th century
Geography:Mangareva, Gambier Islands
Dimensions:H. 38 3/4 in. × W. 10 in. × D. 8 1/4 in. (98.4 × 25.4 × 21 cm)
Credit Line:The Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York, The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979
[Julius Carlebach Gallery, New York, until 1953]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1953, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1957–1978
de Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "Art of the South Pacific Islands," September 15, 1953–November 15, 1953.
Museum of Primitive Art. "Masterpieces from the South Seas in the Collection of the MOPA," May 19, 1965–October 3, 1965.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of Oceania, Africa and the Americas from The Museum of Primitive Art," May 10–August 17, 1969.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 14, 1970–June 1, 1971.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sculpture of Oceania," April 4–September 5, 1972.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art of Oceania, Africa and the Americas," September 22, 1972–1974.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Sculpture from the Pacific Islands," August 13, 1974–March 15, 1975.
National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Art of the Pacific Islands," Sunday, July 1, 1979 - Sunday, October 14, 1979.
Musée de Tahiti et des Îles. "Mangareva," August 4, 2008–November 30, 2008.
Musée du Quai Branly. "Mangareva," February 3, 2009–May 17, 2009.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nelson Rockefeller Vision: In Pursuit of 'The Best' in the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas," October 7, 2013–October 9, 2014.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Atea: Nature and Divinity in Polynesia," November 19, 2018–October 27, 2019.
Buck, Peter. "Ethnology of Mangareva." Bernice P. Bishop Museum Bulletin vol. 157 (1938), pp. 99, 230–31, 418–27, 460–67, figs. 62–67.
Museum of Primitive Art. Masterpieces in the Museum of Primitive Art: Africa, Oceania, North America, Mexico, Central to South America, Peru. Handbook series. New York, NY: Museum of Primitive Art, 1965, no. 55.
Wardwell, Allen. The Sculpture of Polynesia. Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1967, p. 38, no. 34.
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 15.
Newton, Douglas. Masterpieces of Primitive Art: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1978, p. 112.
Newton, Douglas, Julie Jones, and Kate Ezra. The Pacific Islands, Africa, and the Americas: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987, p. 50, no. 34.
Waite, Deborah. "Three Images from Mangareva: A Reappraisal." In Artistic Heritage in a Changing Pacific, edited by Philip J.C. Dark, and Roger G. Rose. Hololulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1993, pp. 106–110.
Serres, Christian. "De Mangareva à Cahors: La statuette oubliée." Tahiti-Pacifique Magazine vol. 121 (May 2001), p. 50.
Orliac, Catherine. "Le dieu Rao de Mangareva et le Curcuma longa." Journal de la Société des Océanistes no. 114–115 (2002), pp. 201–207.
Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, pp. 294–295, no. 177.
Nuku, Maia. Oceania: The Shape of Time. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2023, p. 170, pl. 109.
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