Returned to lender The Met accepts temporary loans of art both for short-term exhibitions and for long-term display in its galleries.

Staff god

Not on view

Ancestral figures and flying foxes descend the central arm of this boldly carved ritual staff god from the Cook Islands. Their sequence, emphasized by the careful notching of the central figure’s spine, reinforces the close genealogical relationship between humans, their gods, and the natural world. Tightly bound with huge bolts of barkcloth when not in use, these staff gods were ritually activated when unwrapped by chiefs and priests during ceremonial rites.

Staff god, Wood (toa)

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.