Extremely Fine Maori Ear Pendant, New Zealand
height 3 1/2in (8.9cm)
Private Collection, London
Cf. Phelps (1976: pl. 80)
According to Barrow (1964: p 26), "The art of working greenstone reached a wonderful perfection in Classic Maori culture when adzes, chisels, and ornaments were manufactured in a wide range of types. Greenstone was regarded as a supernatural substance, to be valued above all other materials. Nephrite (the hard jade from which most of the objects are made) was found in the river-beds of the Teremakau and Arahura on the West Coast of the South Island, and bowenite (a soft translucent bottle-green variety called tangiwai) was secured at Anita Bay, Milford Sound. Like the ancient Chinese, the Maori were connoisseurs of the colour and texture of greenstone, and named varieties after some natural object or quality...
...if whitish, it was likened to the colour of live whitebait (inanga)."
The present example, most likely stone carved, is an exceptional example of the highly coveted, classic inanga type of stone; pierced at one end for suspension, the wear on the blade tip indicates significant wear and age.