Headrest, Tonga Island
Lot 98Y
Headrest, Tonga Island
Sold for US$ 37,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Headrest, Tonga Island
kali laloni
Wood, shell
length 22 1/8in (56cm)

Published:
St. Cartmail, Keith, The Art of Tonga, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, HI, 1997, fig. 20

This elegant headrest is finely decorated with inlaid (now replaced with later) mother-of-pearl shell inlay on the upper surface; the arched feet are finely bound with vegetable fiber; rich reddish-brown patina.

In discussing this headrest, St. Cartmail notes, "Another unusual kali...is one of impeccable Tongan provenance that was given to me in New Zealand. Although essentially a kali toloni in terms of structure, it is distinguished by the relatively ornateness of its top, carved from one piece of wood, which is also decorated with mother of pearl inlay. This kali epitomises variation, but let it be said that whatever variations exist, one indisputable fact emerges from a study of these head-pillows - the fact that they are a notable Polynesian art form that follows function, an art form at the same time endowed with simple grace, economy and elegance." (1997: p. 57)
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  1. Fredric Backlar
    Specialist - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, 90046
    United States
    Work +1 323 436 5416
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843
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