Hei Tiki Maori


Handmade in sterling silver 925 at our workshop in Athens.

Inspired by sculptures from Polynesian culture. The term tiki is applied to carved human figures generally, both by the Maori and by other Polynesians.

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The term tiki is applied to carved human figures generally, both by the Maori and by other Polynesians. The name possibly has some connection with the myth of Tiki, the first man created by Tane. On the other hand tiki or tiki tiki is also a general term for carving in many parts of Polynesia, as, for instance, in Niue, where the Tiki myth is unknown and human figures were not carved. In New Zealand, however, tiki is usually applied to the human figure carved in greenstone as a neck ornament. The full name is hei-tiki. It has been suggested that this ornament is a fertility charm representing the human embryo and that it should be worn only by women. However, early European visitors saw men wearing the hei-tiki and it is probable that the squat shape of the figure was influenced by the hardness of the material and that it was later likened to an embryo and endowed with magical powers. The shape is also probably due to the fact that tiki was often made from adze blades. Adzes and chisels made from greenstone were also prestige items and the shape of a greenstone adze lends itself to conversion into a tiki. There are several extant examples of half-finished tiki evidently originally small adzes and sometimes on completed tiki, traces of the original cutting end shaping of an adze can be seen, usually at the foot. Tiki remains prestige items in New Zealand today; heirlooms (taonga) in Maori families and European families as well. They are worn by Maori on ceremonial occasions. Most tikis is not ancient and some are 19th-century commercial products but nonetheless highly valued treasures to their owners.

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Sterling silver 925


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