Basalt Priest's Bowl, Kapuahikuni Anā'Anā, Hawaiian Islands
diameter 3 1/4in, height 2 1/8 in
of tapering conical form with central cup and rounded base; natural pitted reddish gray stone.
Klammer Collection, Molokai
Private Colleciton, East Coast
Bowls such as these were used by kahuna anā'anā in the process of "praying to death," pule anā'anā. In this ritual the kahuna anā'anā collected hair, spittle, nail pairings, or other items containing the intended victim's personal mystical power or mana. The kahuna anā'anā could control this mana, and therefore the victim, through the use of prayers or spells. Victims were known to take to their mats, waste away, and die; however, one under the spell of a kahuna anā'anā could seek release and guidance from a healing kahuna.
For a similar example of the same rare shape of deep inverted beehive form, see Christies, Paris, 4 December 2008, lot 64.