Wooden feeding funnel, Maori, New Zealand,1890-1925

Made:
1890-1925 in New Zealand

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Wooden feeding funnel, Maori, New Zealand. Full 3/4 view, graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden feeding funnel, Maori, New Zealand. Full view, inside of funnel visable. Graduated grey background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Wooden feeding funnel, Maori, New Zealand

Within Maori culture these wooden feeding funnels are known as ‘Korere’. The funnel is made of wood inset with abalone shell and carved with interlacing ancestral designs. Korere feed high status individuals such as chiefs when the ability to consume food is restricted. This restriction can be due to activities called ‘tabu’, the origin of the word ‘taboo’. ‘Tabu’ is used to describe a powerful or dangerous situation which must be controlled. One example would be during a tattoo ceremony when the chief has his face marked with traditional moko designs; he could be fed through the feeding funnel. This was for practical as well as ritual reasons; tattooing would cause excessive swelling, and water and healing agents could be passed down the funnel. The Korere would limit physical contact between the food and chief when both are considered charged with ‘mana’ or power, and therefore tabu. However, it is possible this example was carved for the early tourist market and never used for its traditional purpose.

Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A14850
Materials:
shell, wood
type:
feeding funnel
taxonomy:
  • component - object
  • furnishing and equipment
  • container - receptacle
  • drinking vessel
status:
Loan: Wellcome Trust

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