Description & Technical information

A very fine, small early coconut grater in the form of a zoomorphic, four-legged seat. Called duai in Nukuoro (or tuai in the neighboring islands) these utensils are ubiquitous to all households. They are essential elements providing the all-important grated coconut used to make coconut milk and cream as well as oil. The form, while obviously zoomorphic may actually have a deeper representational aspect as a highly stylized human form – slave or victim. The long neck protrudes elegantly with a slight bend giving at the shoulders an impression of a restrained power and enhancing the visual design. The neck retains the traces of the tight binding that was used to hold the serrated grater blade carved from a section of seashell.

Period:  19th century
Origin:  Nukuoro Island, Caroline Islands, Para-Polynesia, Micronesia
Medium: Breadfruit tree wood (Artocarpus altilis)
Dimensions: 50.5 x 29 x 23 cm (19⁷/₈ x 11³/₈ x 9 inches)
Provenance: Acquired from the Everett Frye collection in Kahala, Hawaii. Ex coll. : Sherrod Anderson, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Categories: Tribal Art