Priest's Bowl, Hawaiian Islands
diameter 3 1/4in (8.3cm)
Emma Nakuina (1847-1929), first curator of the Hawaiian National Museum, forerunner to the Bishop Museum
Thence by descent
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.