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Stilt Step

12 1/2 x 2 3/4 x 3 3/4 in. (31.8 x 7 x 9.6 cm)

Unknown, Marquesan
Marquesan

Object Type: Woodwork
Medium and Support: Wood
Credit Line: General Acquisitions Fund
Accession Number: 1967.38
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

Stilt steps such as this one were footrests for stilt walkers. They were lashed about two or three feet from the bottom of tall poles. Marquesan men performed on stilts for entertainment and ritual occasions. Accomplished stilt-walkers could perform somersaults and other acrobatics. Audiences placed wagers on races, mock battles and other competitions between opponents. The stocky figure is in the form of Tiki, known generally throughout Polynesia as the wise and potent creator of the human race. Shallow, carved lines recall the tattoos that beautify the bodies of Marquesan women and men.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Sold at Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, November 24, 1967; purchased at that sale by the Gallery

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