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Old 20th April 2016, 05:20 PM   #1
kronckew
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Default Maori Maripi

arrived today from a UK dealer, maori shark toothed cutting impliment, kind of a utility knife used to slice meat and veg mostly, but also humans as the need arose. 6 shark teeth are from the 6 or 7 gilled sharks native to the NZ area. they are held together by some sort of fibre and resin in a groove in the wood, hard to see exactly. they are razor sharp too. this one is 23 cm. long. (black cord was added by me to hang it)

not sure how old. vendor didn't think it was antique. i note the pommel holes are carved in, not drilled. i did a search on the web & only found a few examples, most in this size range, inc. a slightly smaller one in the NZ museum. also saw a much larger swordlike one listed as a chief's maripi.
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Old 20th April 2016, 07:05 PM   #2
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Hello,

Very nice piece, but I doubt that is antique (simply because the wood doesn't seem that aged). Anyhow it certainly appears to be made in traditional way.
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Old 20th April 2016, 07:15 PM   #3
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No it is not carved in a traditional fashion.
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Old 20th April 2016, 08:04 PM   #4
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The fibre mentioned above which holds the teeth will be flax fibre. Have not heard of resin being used but then I am not particularly knowledgeable about our native weapons The other thing is that it seems to me that the carving is not of the quality seen on pieces in Museums here.
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Old 20th April 2016, 09:30 PM   #5
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i found a maripi at the pitts river museum from the capt. cook voyage collection, itrm 1886.1.1161 , similar sharks teeth are held with flax fibre and resin. the resin on mine is a lighter colour. Detail Attached .

p.s. i tweaked the photo exposure on my maripi to show the detail of the wood, in person it is a few shades darker. the carving is a bit crude, i agree.

unenhanced photo of mine also attached
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Last edited by kronckew : 20th April 2016 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 23rd April 2016, 01:48 PM   #6
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Here is the maripi from the Pitt River Museum. There are indeed some similar design elements, but i think yours is most probably a modern reproduction of this style of maripi.
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Old 27th May 2016, 08:24 PM   #7
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I HAVE BEEN PUTTING SOMETHING TOGETHER ON MARIPPI FOR REFERENCE SO THIS IS A GOOD PLACE TO PUT IT. THE GENERAL OPINION IS THESE WERE NEVER USED AS WEAPONS BUT AS KNIVES PERHAPS ONLY FOR RITUAL USE OR MAYBE GENERAL PURPOSES? I WOULD TEND TO THINK THE FANCY ONES WERE FOR SPECIAL USE PERHAPS IN PREPARING MEAT FOR THE CHIEF OR OTHER PEOPLE OF IMPORTANCE. THEY HAVE SOME WELL CARVED FUNNELS FOR FEEDING PEOPLE OF HIGH RANK AS WELL AND PERHAPS OTHER IMPLEMENTS. THERE ARE MORE PLAIN EXAMPLES AROUND BUT MUSEUMS MOSTLY DISPLAY THE FANCY ONES LIKE THESE. THE USE OF THIS TYPE OF SHARK TOOTH IS LIKELY TO HAVE SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE AS IT IS THE ONE USED ON THE FANCY EXAMPLES WHERE MORE COMMON TYPES CAN BE FOUND ON THE MORE PLAIN ONES. CONJECTURE BUT LOGICAL.
#1. 11.5 INCH. PICTURE FROM 1927
#2. FOUR OLD EXAMPLES FROM OLD BOOK
#3. GIFT TO MUSEUM 1912, 215 MM. X 53 MM.
#4.OLD EXAMPLE NO INFORMATION
#5. MAORI CHIEFS KNIFE CIRCA 1807
#6. ARE ALL NEWER TOURIST TYPES WITH NO REAL TEETH.
#7. NO INFORMATION
#8. 2 KNIVES THIN ONE WITH DIFFERENT KIND OF TEETH. AUCKLAND MUSEUM
#9. EXAMPLE IN BRITISH MUSEUM
#10. SAME AS #1. HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS
#11. THREE MARIPPI OLD BOOK PLATE.
#12. NO MORE INFORMATION BUT THE TEETH DON'T LOOK CORRECT.
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Old 27th May 2016, 08:44 PM   #8
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A FEW MORE, SOME MAY BE THE SAME ITEMS PICTURED DIFFERENTLY.
PICTURE #2. RECENT TOURIST SOUVENIR #6 & #7. TOURIST ITEMS WITH FAKE TEETH. #11. LOOKS GOOD BUT HAS TIGER SHARK TEETH. #12. TOO SMALL TO TELL MUCH. THE OTHERS ARE ALL GOOD OLD EXAMPLES.
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