Fan

Oceanic, Cook Islands
1972
Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander


Dimensions

Overall: 30.5 x 35.6 cm (12 x 14 in.)

Accession Number

2009.4966

Medium or Technique

Coconut leaf, shell

On View

Arts of Asia, Oceania, and Africa Gallery (Gallery 177)

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Ceremonial artifacts

Rarotongan fans (ta’iri) were plaited from coconut leaflets, a rough fan for ordinary use and a finer one of dressed leaflets for formal occasions. This example shows the continuation of Pacific weaving traditions in modern times. The fine weaving is made from the uncurled fiber of the coconut palm (rito). These young fronds are cured in salt water and are meticulously woven together making it a highly prized textile. Formerly, the best fans had wefts plaited in an ornamental effect, and attached to ornately carved wooden handles. In more recent times, a polished shell would be used to create a beautiful handle.

Provenance

1972, presented by people of Rarotonga, Cook Islands to Governor Carlton Skinner (b. 1913 - d. 2004) and Solange Skinner, Boston; 2009, gift of Solange Skinner to the MFA. (Accession date: November 18, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Governor Carlton Skinner and Solange Skinner