Lot: 48

Stilt step "tapuva'e"

Marquesas Islands

Provenance Size Hammer price
Dutch Collection, Rotterdam H: 13.8 inch 7300 EUR

wood, base

This stilt step is carved with a traditional "tiki" figure. Shallow grooves covering the entire body recall the tattoos that beautify the Marquesan men's and women's bodies.

According to Pelrine, stilt games in the Marquesas Islands consisted of races and competitions in which one man would try to knock down his opponent by balancing on one stilt while using the other to strike the stilts of his rival.

The stilt contests were held at festivals that took place at special events, such as weddings, initiation ceremonies, the death of a chief or a tau'a, a priest.

Stilt contests were entertaining, but many were also sacred activities. They were believed to be a means of attracting the attention of deities, as well as a demonstration of the "mana" of the individual contestants and the families and groups they represented.


Pelrine, Diane M., Affinities of Form, Munich, New York 1996, p. 84