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J

After a recent adventure in the Hawaiian Isles, I’ve come back quite curious about which Tiki is who. I know there are other tikis from other islands (e.g., marques or Maori styles). But within the Hawaiian pantheon who’s who?

I’m certain that the god with the braids is Ku, but when I asked who is the god in the tall hat, I was told, that’s just another Ku. I was told my street-carved tiki was Lono, but when I asked how I could tell, the answer came back a little fuzzy. Do they have attributes, like St Sebastian and his arrows, or St Peter and his keys, or is it more an “I just decided this was a Lono” on the part of the carver?

AND ANOTHER THING – Where are the women?

I know Pele is the volcano goddess, and Hina was the wife of Ku, but I never see these gals as carved images. In fact, the only carved image of a Hawaiian goddess I know of, was carved by a French guy

The god with the tall hat:

The god with the braids:

My street-carved Lono:

jtiki

Top Lono...two bottom Ku.

J

Yeah - but how can you tell (and actually I was told the other way around in Lahinia). Bottom - Lono, acording to the carver; top 2 Ku, in different forms.

Lono, Lono, Ku...
No fries - Chips, No Coke - Pepsi!

Yeah, what is the deal?

I read that the guy with the tall "hat" isn't really wearing a hat. It represents an exstention of the spine... the spine is supposed to represent the family tree and having it rise above the head like that represents strength and the protection of ancestors. Anyone know?

:tiki:

[ Edited by: Tiki Royale on 2003-01-10 19:39 ]

Gecko?

G
GECKO posted on Sat, Jan 11, 2003 3:43 PM

The Tiki on the top is LONO, the middle is KU and da kine on da bottom is made usually by peopo from Tonga, I can tell by the carving style. It's their iterpretation of a hawaiian tiki. which Hawaiian tiki...I think they feel the tourist who are picking them up don't know a thing about tiki so they say what evas....Ku, Lono, etc... I think it look's like it's own style...Tongan, it looks like Ku to me not Lono. I don't really buy those tourist pieces, they are to plenty for me.
Not that they're not nice, I just like to collect rare pieces of tiki pop art.

J
jtiki posted on Mon, Jan 20, 2003 3:01 PM

HEY GECKO

I think that is exactly how Aliis (sp? – GECKO’s charming wahine, whose name sounds like the word for Hawaiian royalty) described it when we met you at La Mariana. She said that the street carvers always carved he same sort of designs and they were a little fuzzy on exactly what they were.

I did put in a call to the Baltimore Museum of art, asking the iconography question. My mother docents there, and they have probably the largest Oceania collection in the area. They referred my to a guy even closer, turns out one of the curators at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum (just down the street) is a Hawaiian Art expert. However, when presented with my relatively novice questions he responded much as I would expect a curator to, referring me to the Cox, Hawaiian Sculpture Book and an article he wrote in an impossible to find journal back in 1982. (Anyone have a copy of RES, The Journal of Anthropology and Aesthetics, spring 82? – yeah I thought not). In response to my question about the depiction of Goddesses, he did tell me that there is a goddess in the collection of this museum, but I can’t find her.

PS – where did you find that quilt bracelet, I’m on the hunt, with Valentine’s Day in mind.

jtiki

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-01-20 15:02 ]

What is this ones name?

Tikibar,

Check this thread out for more on your tiki. In it, Sven states that this is also a representation of Ku, the god of war.

http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=1486&forum=5

Sabu

HH

hey jtiki,in regards to quilt pattern hawaiian braclet, you can get em down town waikiki at the IMP, or hilo hatties, i belive carries them now. I picked up a silver one for my sister a while back for about $50 or so.

Sabu,
Good information on the thread you suggested. Thank ku very much.

7

The subject of how the Hawaiian gods were represented by the priest sculptors (Kahuna Kalai) has been a consuming subject for me over the last few months.

I puchased the book by Cox, here's what I read and my interpretation, perhaps it may be of help...

Probably everyone already know this... but, there were 4 primary gods.

Ku - Was the most aggressive and active of the three. Ku-of-fishing,Ku-of-War,Ku-the-supreme-one, Ku-the-maggot-mouth. Ku was described as having a lizard body with flashing eyes and thrusting toungue.
Image:

Kane - was similar to Ku, but more closely aligned with life, procreation, the male principle and similar phenomena. Carvings of Kane typicaly included triangular shaped eyes surrounded by facets.

Lono - was the most humane of the four, he cared for crops, maturation, forgiveness, healing and other life sustaining aspects.
Lono had at least two distintively different appearances...
Lono in Makahiki season:

and the more well know image that includes the large headdress.

The author 'Cox' says the headdress may actually be representations of sails and reflects the influence of the visition by Cook to the islands. Personaly, I think the headress looks like a 2 dimensional representation of the islands as they would have appeared to a carver when looking at them from ground level. Perhaps, they represent the islands that were under the domain of the king at the time of the statues carving... those who know for sure are long long gone!

Kanaloa - Not much said, other than being secondarily associated with Kane. Unfortuanately, I'm unable to ascertain which if any of the original hawaiian sculptures represents Kane. I have found some recent examples but am reluctant to state them here as representative of how they were carved 300 years ago...

I have been working to get a copy of a publication by the Bishop Museum press titled "11 gods assembled", but as yet have not had any luck (the museum has not answered my inquires) Perhaps someone local could get a copy and post the content (eh Gecko?)

Temples were erected at the request (or demand) of the King, and would be dedicated to one of the 4 primary gods. Different dedication ceremoneys existed for each of the gods and creation of their temples. Many different statues were erected in the temples, usually there were two at the entrance, with another dozen or so in a semi circle inside the temple and a central carving called the "moi" which represented the god for which the temple was being erected. The dedication process started with the selection of the tree on the mountain side, followed by the carving of the statue and then the transport to the temple and the subsequent erection of the statue. There's a great deal more detail in the book about the dedication process that I'm intentionaly leaving out here... somethings are just better left unsaid (if you know what I mean).

The "Kona" style of carving is the only localized style of of Hawaiian sculpture that can be documented, developed on the Kona coast of the island in the late 1700's.

The main features are an increased head size and hair elaboration, faces dominated by snarling mouths and extended nostrils, there are no underlying bone structures, cheeks, foreheads or chins, parallel grooves to represent beards, and eyes dislocated into the volume of the hair. Body and limbs are simple elliptical or conical volumes finished by parallel faceting. The body units are clearly defined and separated, knees are flexed, calves are heavy.

Although the images I posted do not do justice to the description above. I for one am greatly impressed with the master craftsmanship exibited in the ku image as it appears in the book. I stongly encourage those interested to check the book out for "better views" and a whole lot more detail and information.

If anyone has a good reference to the Kanaloa image I'd be greatly interested in seeing it... All I have been able to find are images and references created in the late 90's.

7TiKiS


There's nothing like a sharp tool!

[ Edited by: 7TiKiS on 2003-01-21 07:32 ]

J

cool and thanks

I took my images from a carving site at

http://www.friendlyisleswc.com/carvings.html

which gives just a little of the mythology. They depict Kanaloa this way. (He kind of reminds me of the Cook Island Fishing God.

I recall pawing the books at the Bishop Museum store rather serverly, and I don't recall an 11 Gods Assembled, only the Hawaiian Mythology book.

The shop, the museum and their phone numbers are at

http://www.bishopmuseum.org/store/

jtiki

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-01-21 11:54 ]

J

I'm sorry you were looking for Kane, not Kanaloa. The god I identified above as "The God in the Tall Hat" they identify as Kane.

I had been told that the "tall hat" may also be an extension of his spine.

jtiki

J

TOO FUNNY 7Tikis.

Okay, the Smithsonian Curator I've been quizzing in an ADRIENNE L. KAEPPLER. So I just put his name and a few other buzz words into Google and stumble on this page, an article on the depiction of The Devine in various cultures, that had this to say about the "tall hat."

As further evidence of power, superiority and authority we see the crest which extends up to cover the head which is the seat of mana and is the most sacred part of the body. The crest does not symbolize a cock's comb but according to a lecture given by Dr. Adrienne Kaeppler last April at the Bishop Museum, the notches became an extension of the backbone symbolizing genealogy, with each notch representing a generation.(1) Thus genealogy protects the head by giving evidence of superior, illustrious ancestors to augment other evidences of superiority already mentioned.

The funny part is that the foot note goes back to MY CURATOR, and YOUR ARTICLE, "Eleven Gods Assembled." Perhaps the museum could find it if you asked for "Special Publication No. 21."

1Ed. Note. While no records at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu note the exact date of Kaeppler's lecture in early April, 1979, the lecture itself, entitled, "Eleven Gods Assembled," later appeared as Eleven Gods Assembled: An Exhibition of Hawaiian Wooden Images, April 6-June 10, 1979 (1979) as Special Publication No. 21 of the Bishop Museum.

OKAY, SO IT AIN'T THAT FUNNY, But my parents were librarians and maybe I enjoy these types of coincidences too much.

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-01-21 12:25 ]

J
jtiki posted on Tue, Jan 21, 2003 1:05 PM

one last note -

I'm a little obessesive, I know, but I found a copy of "Eleven Gods". The Museum doesn't seem to have any more. Mine came from tribalartbooks.com

7

jtiki,

Congrats on finding the holy grail, I contacted ADRIENNE L. KAEPPLER at the Smithsonian a couple of weeks back, she pointed me at the Bishop Museum, which of course - is where the trail ended for me.

I believe the statue you are referring to with the cockscombing is not the one that resembles lono / kane but instead has more of a "comb" look to it, with the spines running from the front of the head to the back, rather than being piled up atop one another.

I hope you have a scanner :lol: , would sure like to see 11 Gods Assembled.

Apparently, David Malo did a great deal of historical research on this subject as well, and may have some publications / books out there worth finding...

Great Job with the research, you're right, it must be heredity!

7

ps. Just went to the site you provided and ordered my own copy of the grail. Tx Again J!


There's nothing like a sharp tool!

[ Edited by: 7TiKiS on 2003-01-22 05:15 ]

7

JTiki,
Tribalarts.com apparently called yesterday and said they can't sell the book at the price quoted, they would lose money with the order ?

Did your order go through?

If not, maybe one of us can double up the order and forward the article after receipt...

7TiKiS

J
jtiki posted on Thu, Jan 23, 2003 5:44 AM

My apologies - I should have given you that warning. We went back and forth a few times and while I wanted to add one of the other books I was looking for to meet his $20 minimum, his prices seemed high for books that could be found elsewhere (bookfinder.com). Eventually I capitulated and added a book called The Art of Cook Island, for the relatively low price of $15.

I'll try and call today, if my order isn't out already I'll get an extra tossed in.

jtiki

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-01-23 05:45 ]

7

On 2003-01-23 05:44, jtiki wrote:
My apologies - I should have given you that warning. We went back and forth a few times and while I wanted to add one of the other books I was looking for to meet his $20 minimum, his prices seemed high for books that could be found elsewhere (bookfinder.com). Eventually I capitulated and added a book called The Art of Cook Island, for the relatively low price of $15.

I'll try and call today, if my order isn't out already I'll get an extra tossed in.

jtiki

Cool, Thanks, If it's not too late, pm me an address and I'll get a money order out to you.

7

7

Well...

I called them, good for you, bad for me... your order shipped yesterday.

I located the article number through the bishop museum press (CARL) telnet database and have sent the museum another inquiry...

In case you (or others) are interested the call # for the article is:
AS763.B62MS No.21

Thanks for the offer J.

7

ps. I think I'll convert the document to html / pdf and give it back to the museum so others can have access to it without going through this antiquated "paper-full" process.


There's nothing like a sharp tool!

[ Edited by: 7TiKiS on 2003-01-23 07:54 ]

J

Hey 7,

sounds like we both got a hold of him, and both too late. Depending on the size, I'm happy to share all or a portion through an appropriate media. I'll describe when it arrives.

j

7

On 2003-01-23 12:01, jtiki wrote:
Hey 7,

sounds like we both got a hold of him, and both too late. Depending on the size, I'm happy to share all or a portion through an appropriate media. I'll describe when it arrives.

j

Cool!

Thanks J!

7

J

On 2003-01-20 15:01, jtiki wrote:

I did put in a call to the Baltimore Museum of art, asking the iconography question. My mother docents there, and they have probably the largest Oceania collection in the area.

Pardon my ignorance but I haven't been to the BMA since I was in high school...they have a large collection of Oceania artifacts?? I see an upcoming field trip in the near future...

J
jtiki posted on Fri, Jan 24, 2003 4:51 AM

"they have probably the largest Oceania collection in the area"

Which is not to say that it is huge; but it is bigger than the Smithsonian display. Just past the entrance, in the first section you come to is their Africa, Asia, The Americas, Oceania exhibit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that "The Whole World Minus Europe"? Anyway, this is their "cultural" collection, I believe the first alvoce is Oceania.

j

I see you stumbled on Karasua and I discusing where to find the Balt/DC tikis. (is that the goodwill in west downtown?)

J

I've had no luck in any Goodwill outside of Harford County...believe it or not! My Goodwill of choice is the new store in Aberdeen - I've found a Tak Shindo LP, giant tiki forks and spoons, and other Hawaiian souvenirs...check it out...on second thought, don't check it out! I want all the stuff for myself! :)

C

Another explanation of what you call the "big hat" and is usually referred to as headresses is that it represents the expansion of consciousness in deep meditation which would bring the Hawaiian religion closer to Eastern religions such as Buddhism.
Aloha

J
jtiki posted on Sat, Jan 25, 2003 5:45 AM

I don't know -

the stance, the grimace, the aggressive posture; I have a hard time aligning these elements with a philosophy of zen-like calm.

Johntiki - It sounds like the pickings are pretty slim in Hartford Co., but Dad lives in Abingdon, so I may eventually make an excuse to poke through your stores.

j

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-01-25 05:49 ]

J
jtiki posted on Tue, Feb 18, 2003 4:45 AM

Based on an article I was looking at, it would seem that Lono, is usually the god “in the tall hat,” (or striking head) which is possibly an extension of the spine, symbolizing genealogy. He may also be the god with the “crest” or ”overhanging comb”, whose symbolism represents the protection of the sacred head (I suspect this article may be the source of Tiki Royale’s explanation). The mouth of disrespect is associated with Ku. Our familiarity with the “classic Ku” may relate to the association of Ku and “disrespect” with the rise of Kamehameha, whose ascended to rule the islands over “higher ranking” individuals, whose claims were stronger from a genealogy stance. Consequently, the concept of disrespect (especially over those you defeat), rather than heredity and genealogy became the prevailing characteristic in gods and their images. However, the sharing of attributes between these gods, the destruction of the traditional religion by western influence and the changes in the religion and the symbology, especially during the rise of Kamehameha, makes specific relationships between gods and attributes difficult (a very troubling circumstance for my anal tendencies). A longer summary is below.

The Spring of 1982 Issue of RES Journal (currently sold out) includes an article by Adrienne L Kaeppler called “Genealogy and Disrespect.” It is described as a longer version of her paper “Eleven God’s Assembled,” presented to the Bishop Museum. Back Issues are no longer available; my summary is below. In it she examines the symbolism in Hawaiian images, and argues for its relationship to the importance of genealogy, respect (and disrespect) and Kaona (or veiled meaning) in Hawaiian Culture. Throughout the article, she high-lights that the destruction of the traditional Hawaiian religion, by missionaries, and the evolutionary nature of the religion makes specific interpretations impossible. To make matters worse, Lono and Ku, (the two gods on whom the article focuses) shared attributes, operating as necessary opposites to each other.

For me, the article also served as an introduction to the Hawaiian religion, identifying Kane, Lono, Ku and Kanaloa as derived from and having the attributes of East Polynesia. Kane was associated with the sky, and Kanaloa with the sea, leaving Lono and Ku to be concerned with the more accessible items like farming, pigs, war and houses. Aspects of the gods were also considered as separate gods, with compound names such as Kane-hekili, “Kane-of-the-thunder,” resulting in multiple “Lono-gods” or “Kane-gods.”

Hawaiian religion makes statements about social relationships, and sculptures render these concepts into visual form. Hawaiian images were social metaphors –page 84

Now, I’m inclined to believe that Hawaiian sculpture is no different that any other religious sculpture acting as “social metaphor,” but Kaeppler’s interpretation of that metaphor indicates that the Lono gods stood for family and society working together and following the order imposed by social rank, while the Ku gods stood for competing groups, whose competition required the degrading and disrespect of rank and status.

Although the article focused on sculpture, several strong arguments for this view came from a look at the Hawaiian language. The word for spine, “iwikuamo’o” also means family. The word for head, “po’o” is modified to “po’o ki’ eki’ e” or “exalted head” and taken to mean “god.” So the concepts of head, god and family, spine are linked both literally in the language as well as figuratively in the sculpture. More too the point we are also told one of the Lono gods was said to have a forehead that projected, with which he could strike both forwards and behind.

From this starting point Kaeppler reviews the image of spines, and notches that represent genealogical succession in both Hawaiian and other Polynesian sculptures. Moving upward from the backbone, Kaeppler then discusses the head and tells us that the head is also sacred. It is apparently extremely impolite to touch a Polynesian on the top of the head (who knew? – perhaps that explains all the trouble I had touching people in Waikiki, or may be that was something else J ) From this she suggests that images with overhanging combs are also extensions of the backbone or that “one’s genealogy is one’s sacred protection.” Elaborations can expand on the design until the original head disappears and/or a second face may be added to the comb, perhaps suggesting a protective ancestor. (I don’t know if this helps identify mrtikibar’s tiki or not) An expanded opposing lower jaw may match the crested overhand or headdress. Each of these: backbones or spines, or tikis supported by incorporating notched spine-like patterns; or tikis with the striking head or expanded back bone; or the spine brought forward to protect the head are identified as the elements symbolic of Lono.

The “Overhanging comb”

Kaeppler also describes several images that have the pronounce “backbone/striking head,” but also have what she calls the “mouth of disrespect,” with the chin forward and the mouth open widely indicating scorn, indifference and disrespect. This is the expression of several temple images traditionally associated with the Ku gods and often includes elongated eyes and flared nostrils. These images that combine the attributes, Kaeppler suggests might have been part of “Hikiau” which was dedicated to both gods. (Right here, is where I finally recognized the futility of trying to identify the tiki gods I bought on the streets of Lanai.)

Kaeppler suggests that the Hawaiian orientation towards war was not based on territorial necessity, but a backlash reaction to the importance of hierarchy and status. “In rank oriented societies it seems almost inevitable that … clashes will result;” that in Hawaiian society mechanisms for maintaining rank, common in other parts of Polynesia, have been discarded, allowing for active efforts to elevate one’s self while degrading others.

The article also makes some interesting claims for the relationship between history and the prevalence of particular gods. Kamehameha was appointed care taker of the god KuKailimoku. During his unification of the islands, both Kamehameha and KuKailimoku gained in power. KuKailimoku’s (the god’s) rise in power was depicted by making big sculptures and giving him a very big “mouth or disrespect.” Disrespect over genealogy became the important element in his time, in as much as Kamehameha (the chief) had to “dispose of” his bluer blood cousins on the way to supremacy.

While the mouth of disrespect is he main feature of the Ku images, sometimes one image has attributes of the other, particularly before Kamehameha, when presumably politics required the separation of the Ku-disrespect from the Lono-geneaology.

I haven’t look at the Cox and Davenport book; I decided to take the free shipping from Amazon, which means waiting a few weeks (and don’t forget to link through Hanford’s site for your book orders). I get the impression they will argue for and against some of these views. I did receive a copy of the “Eleven God’s Assembled,” which is mostly an introduction to an exibit at the Bishop museum from several years ago. I recommend the RES article of you really want to follow up and can find it in a university library. In the article Kaeppler does say that Cox & co argue that the bent knee stance is a wrestling stance, but Kaeppler sees it as more of a dance posture. Wrestling may be more suited to the mouth of disrespect, but I find the idea that it may be a dance position very compelling after some of my recent experiences with the Hula. On the other hand, a man in Maui told me “the male hula is a very powerful thing.”

So the short answer would seem to be:
-the god with the hat is usually Lono
-the god with the mouth is usually Ku
-sometimes their not
-the god you buy on the streets of Lahaina could be anyone you want it to be.
(and wasn’t that exactly what we thought when we started this thread?)
j

[ Edited by: jtiki on 2003-02-18 04:48 ]

This thread may help the person seeking authentic examples for carving.

Thanks for bumping this thread, christiki. I just ordered the "11 Gods Assembled", and also "Arts and Crafts of Hawaii" (to make the min. $20 order) from the http://www.tribalarts.com website. Looks like good stuff!

A

bump

Still trying to sort through all the imagery that comes up.

I've got some commissioned work to do and she requested "these two" on the postcard.
I mapped it with this other popular image that comes with names, to which I added some notes:

Does anyone "know" who these two figures are and why they are often together?
They both look like Ku to me, but by narratives, Kane and Kanaloa are most often seen together
(from what I could gather with google image searching...)

Anyone got any new info? This thread is so old that many of the links for books no longer work.

ok- time for a Mai Tai :drink: Thanks in advance!

I read somewhere recently that none of the carvings are meant to be physical representations but a personal one, hence all the different styles for one "type" of God. It described most of the styles above with as Kona style, with protruding tongue and chin, flared nostrils, chest pushed out and hands on thighs. This was very much carved as a warning to others as none of the Tiki where ever carved as idols to worship.
I would say both the Tiki in your picture are representations of KU, just different.

A

On 2010-04-28 01:14, cheekytiki wrote:
I read somewhere recently that none of the carvings are meant to be physical representations but a personal one, hence all the different styles for one "type" of God. It described most of the styles above with as Kona style, with protruding tongue and chin, flared nostrils, chest pushed out and hands on thighs. This was very much carved as a warning to others as none of the Tiki where ever carved as idols to worship.
I would say both the Tiki in your picture are representations of KU, just different.

Thanks so much, Cheekytiki! What I find so interesting about tiki culture is the multi layering of anthropologies- people don't seem to be so concerned with original stories or figures. I think that Ku is so frequently represented because the hair/headdress is so rad! My client
wants a Lono and Kane, at least as far as their description goes, and luckily leaving me lots of room for artistic interpretation.

PS- love your whole design business!

Pages: 1 33 replies