Pair of anthropomorphic stilt steps which would have been attached to stilt poles at a high of 50 cm with coconut fibre cordage. Stilts such as these tapuvae were used both for recreation and also for competitive racing across the stone pavements of marae ritual precincts during certain ceremonies. The steps are carved from Cassurina wood and the finished carving has been decorated all over with fine parallel lines that mimic the extensive tattooing which covered the bodies of Marquesan men. Each of the steps bears a number of decorative motifs on the cheeks which are different for each step and which again allude to the unique individual tattooing on every man’s face.
These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.
The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.
If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: email@example.com