Large Maori Hei Tiki Blank, New Zealand
Greenstone (probably nephrite)
height 5 5/8in (14.3cm)
English Private Collection
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Finely hand carved and most likely late 18th century or earlier. This is an unusual and rare example of a greenstone blade being carved into a hei tiki, with only one eye carved so far. Most likely, the artist died before completing this work, and because it was considered taboo for another artist to finish the work in fear of disrupting the mana of the people in general, it would have been intentionally left unfinished.