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Bone Carvings


Rex Pepper

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Attached are a couple of photos of a carving I have been working on. It is an object from Maori methology known as a Hei Tiki or Lizard Man. It is worn by a warrior to to give him strength or "Mana". It can also be worn horizontally by a woman as a fertility talisman. There are many styles of Hei Tiki and I have based this one on a design by a fellow Kiwi carver, Ian Hobbs.

The bone is from the jaw bone of a sperm whale and came from a natural stranding which occurred in 1975. The bone was stored under a hedge for many years which accounts for the cracking and discolouration.

It is quite a large piece, measuring 12.5 cm X 7 cm. The eyes are inlaid with Paua Shell, I will add some cow horn pupils when I get hold of some. I have finished the bone with a coat of baby oil.

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Hi Rex. That's a very interesting and nicely done carving. The material history is fascinating.

 

The photo you posted was extremely big so I took the liberty of sizing it down. It's important to keep these file sizes down to keep the forum operating quickly.

 

Janel has posted a tutorial on photo sizing in the Photography section under the thread "Resize Images for this Forum".

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Hi Doug,

 

I have attached a photo of the rear of the carving which shows another yellowish colour variation. This material at the back was quite chalky and I had to scrape off about 4mm to get to hard bone. The rest of the bone was very dense with a slight grain. Care had to be taken cutting or chiselling across the grain as it would splinter slightly in some places, but it scraped and sanded really well.

 

The finished piece ended up slightly wedge shaped in thickness, varying between 12 and 15mm thick. I have seen maori weapons made from whale jawbone which are about 30mm thick so it a case of finding a source. I struggled to get this piece as it is very scarce.

 

Cheers

 

Rex

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Lovely piece. We visited North and South Island two years ago. During our visit we visited the Maori Cultural Center in Rotorua. Such lovely work. Wish I could have afforded one of the larger weapons (sorry can't remember their correct name" as they were so beautifully carved and finished. Did get a minuature piece and adze head in jade in a town in Westland - forget its name too (Wikipea??).

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Ralph

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