Rare Fish Hook, Hawaiian Islands
Lot 69Y
Rare Fish Hook, Hawaiian Islands
Sold for US$ 5,250 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Rare Fish Hook, Hawaiian Islands
makau iwi kanaka
Bone (probably human or dog)
height 1 1/4in (3.2cm)

PROVENANCE
Private Hilo Family Collection, Hawaii

According to Buck (1957: p. 326), "Small hooks made of human and dog bone resemble the small shell hooks in form. In a private collection obtained from a cave in Hawaii the majority have the incurved point. However, some with a straight point were probably used with line and rod, a form of fishing termed paeaea. The preferred bait was shrimp, but any small fry was useful. According to Malo (1951, pp. 208, 212) angling with rod, line, and hook was termed koi (Emerson, mokoi).

A larger hook made from human bone (makau iwi kanaka) was shaped from sections of long bone...Various forms of this hook, ranging from 38-45mm. in length and 17 to 20mm. in width, with a general thickness of 4mm., are illustrated...Two hooks are peculiar in that they retain the two side points left between the two holes drilled in the manufacture of the hooks. One (like the fishhook presented here) has an incurved point...Though these two hooks look peculiar in shape, they were an established form, as proved by their discovery in caves with old material. All show the inner concave surface of the bone, and the somewhat ridged appearance on each side is apparent."

The ancient Hawaiian process of manufacturing a fish hook was a lengthy process as evidenced by the variety of tools found with fish hooks. According to Emory (1968: p. 19), "At most of the sites where the early Hawaiians left fishhooks we found abandoned and broken tools for shaping, reshaping, and finishing the hooks. These include coral and lava saws and files, shell drill points, and coral balance wheels for the drills. The sawing and first filing were done mostly with coral saws and files, judging from their predominance in the excavations. Blocks of lava about 6 by 10 inches and 1 inch thick have led to the conclusion that they served for grinding the saws and files. Files or rasps for the finishing process are beveled spines of the slate-pencil sea-urchin."

The present work is an exceptionally fine example of the rare, double-pointed feature on the interior, giving it an elegant, graceful and almost animated appearance.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Y CITES

Subject to CITES regulations when exporting items outside of the EU, see clause 13.

Contacts
  1. Fredric Backlar
    Specialist - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    Bonhams
    Work
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5416
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843