353. A Shark Fishing Hook

Cook Islands, early 19th century
Size: 18 cm long

Download PDF

Known as a matau by the Cook Islanders, this rare example has a fine glossy patina, and traces of shark-tooth marks. The largest island, Rarotonga, was first visited in 1789 by the mutineers of the Bounty, and the London Missionary Society based themselves on the island of Aitutaki in 1821. Their collection of confiscated idols is in the British Museum.