18TH C. TAHATIAN BASALT ADZE "TO'I"
Origin: Central Polynesia (Provenance: Recently purchased from an old family collection in Norwich England)
Period/Date: Likely mid to Late 18th century
Materials: black basalt stone, wood, sennit coir, shark skin? (possibly inside the halfting?)
Description: This lovely halfted adze to'i, was used by specialist carpenters to dress timber for houses and ocean canoes. It is an elegantly proportioned tool, featuring the classic Society Island bird-like step finial at its heal. This example is most similar to the one in the Pitt Rivers Museum (see last photo). The braided coconut sennit is cross bound, creating an attractive diamond pattern on the back. The sennit is very old and shows long use, yet is in good condition and tightly attached to its basalt blade. The blade itself is shaped in a triangular cross-section and semi-polished. It has some old loss to the striking edge which might be expected but does little to impact its beauty. Its shaft has an overall honey color patina and is textured and faceted along its length from stone tool marks. The adze has an overall dry varied patina and is presented on a custom wood/metal display stand.
Dimensions: Length 16.75" (42 cm), Width 8.5" (21.5 cm)
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