Headrest, Tonga Island
length 19 5/8in (50cm)
Private Collection, New Zealand
According to Cartmail (1997: p 52), "Cook was mistaken in assuming that the kali were essentially stools. Kali in fact were kali, that is, native wooden pillows or headrests for the head or nape of the neck to rest on. William Mariner, who stayed four years in Tonga 29 years after Cook's visit, was quite unequivocal in his description of kali...he stated that the neckrests or kali themselves were of Fijian origin but made chiefly in Tonga by canoe-builders. What is more likely the case is that in Fiji, kali were being made of Fijian hardwoods by the Lemaki canoe-builders established there by the Tongans, which explains why, to a large extent, the same artefacts were found in Fiji."
Probably stone carved from one piece of wood without any joints, in the classic and elegant hahapo M-shape.