Cook Islands
Artist Unidentified, Pacific Islander

Object Place: Cook Islands


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

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Coconut leaf, shell

On View

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


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


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.


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