Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands
Lot 28
Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands
Sold for US$ 22,500 inc. premium

African and Oceanic Art

5 Dec 2017, 13:00 PST

Los Angeles

Lot Details
Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands
Stilt Step, Marquesas Islands
tapuvai
Wood
height 15 3/4in (40cm)

Provenance
Private Collection, Paris

According to Diane M. Pelrine (Affinities of Form, Prestel-Verlag, Munich - New York, 1996, p. 84), "Stilt games in the Marquesas Islands consisted of races and competitions in which one man would try to knock down his opponent by balancing on one stilt while using the other to strike the stilts of his rival. Particularly skillful stilt-walkers could also entertain by performing somersaults and other acrobatics. Stilt contests, along with singing and dancing, are said to have been the major entertainment at koina and mau, festivals marking special events such as weddings, milestones in the lives of children from important families, and the death of a chief or a tau'a, a priest through whom the gods were believed to speak (Landsdorff 1813, 1: 136; Handy 1923, 218; Ferdon 1993, 68). Thus, stilt contests were entertaining, but many were also sacred activities (Handy 1927, 306-7). They were believed to be a means of attracting the attention of deities, as well as a demonstration of the mana of the individual contestants and the families and groups they represented.

While stilt contests were also popular in other parts of Polynesia, such as the Society Islands, Hawaii, and New Zealand, only on the Marquesas did the stilts themselves become an art form."
Activities
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Contacts
  1. African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian (US)
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  2. Cassandra D'Cruz
    Auction administration - African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art
    Bonhams
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  3. Fred Backlar
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