Rare Fisherman's God, Rarotonga Island, Cook Islands
height 12 3/4in (32.4cm)
Old Hawaiian Family Collection, Waimanalo, Hawaii
Private Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Cf. Hooper (2006: figs. 189 and 190)
Hooper (ibid.) comments, 'A massive emasculated image [fig. 189], this is almost certainly the one illustrated by Williams (1837: 116-17) and described by him as "An idol...placed upon the fore part of every fishing canoe; and when the natives were going on a fishing excursion, prior to setting off, they invariably presented offerings to the god, and invoked him to grant them success."'...'Another image [fig. 190] in similar style...has black painted designs on its body that almost certainly represent tattoos, and which also correspond to the form of the designs on the large sheet of barkcloth (no. 194).'
Certainly not as ancient as the works Hooper comments on above, the present work probably dates to the late 19th century/early 20th century and is carved in the same stylistic fashion, with faint tattooing around the eyes, mouth, navel, arms phallus and knees.