19th century. Rarotonga, Cook Islands
Donated by Anatole von Hügel, MAA E 1895.158
This elaborately carved head of a ‘staff god’ depicts a succession of stylised figures emerging from and composing the body of an ancestor. They sit in alternately frontal and profile views along the ‘backbone’ of the main figure. The number of small figures, which vary from piece to piece, are likely indicative of successive generations.