Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Basket (Egadakua)

late 19th–early 20th century
Pandanus leaves, shark's teeth, fiber
H. 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of American Friends of the Israel Museum, 1983
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 353
In former times, the people of Nauru in the Caroline Islands used small box-shaped baskets, called egadakua, to carry personal items such as drinking cups and containers for precious oils. The baskets were also associated with childbirth, where they were used to hold the implements and substances needed to bring the newborn into the world. Like all the fiber arts on Nauru, egadakua were created by women. The baskets were typically adorned with designs that served as family emblems, indicating the rank and lineage of the bearer. Although the woven portion of this basket is unornamented, the rows of shark teeth that adorn the edges possibly served to indicate the family affiliations of its owner.
Hiltrup Mission Museum, Hiltrup, Germany, by ca. 1938 until ca. 1971; Thomas Schultze-Westrum, Munich, Germany and London, ca. 1971–1981; John A. Friede, New York, 1981–1983; Martin and Faith-dorian Wright, New York, in 1983; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, through American Friends of the Israel Museum, New York, in 1983

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, no. 164, p. 276.

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