, No'oanga [Seat for a noble] Enlarge 1 /5
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Atiu No'oanga [Seat for a noble] 19th century Place made: Atui, Nga-Pu-Toru Island Group, Cook Islands Polynesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood
Dimensions: 16.0 h x 50.0 w x 23.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2007
Accession No: NGA 2007.433

Seats are the only traditional furniture in the Cook Islands, the graceful balance of surface and line creating the most refined form found in central Polynesia.

This seat was once used by nobles and their wives, both of whom were believed to be demi-gods in physical form. Resting on four teardrop-shaped feet, the seat enabled the sitter to raise their head (an all-important and sacred part of the body) higher than of those of their audience.

Crispin Howarth
Curator, Pacific Arts

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra