Large and Rare Bowl, Hawaiian Islands
'umeke la'au pakaka
diameter 16 1/8in (41cm)
Private Collection, Maui, Hawai'i
Finely hand-carved with native repairs, of large, rounded form with sides curving inward.
According to Jenkins (1989: p 80-81), 'The Hawaiian Gazette, in an 1891 article on Hawaiian woods, listed kamani, after kou and milo, as the most valued tree for woodworking: "The Kamani ranks next, probably, in the Hawaiians estimate, particularly the red variety, and is used as a furniture wood, for calabashes, and was used also for spears...
...Bingham also noted the reverence in which it was held in Hawaii and elsewhere in Polynesia: "The tree itself is even more beautiful than its wood, and its glossy leaves and sweet-scented flowers caused the old Hawaiians to plant it near their houses while other Polynesians attached a semi-sacred character to groves of the tree, of which we find a trace in the sacred grove near the Puhonua or place of refuge at Halawa at the east end of Molokai.'