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Flute koauau

Flute koauau

Place: New Zealand
Category: Music & play

bone, New Zealand, l. 9.3 cm, w. 1.4 cm, Inv. Oz 302

Humphrey No. 106: ‘Another bone Cloak button, longer than the preceding, from ditto [New Zealand].’

Flute made of long bone, perforated on one side.

This is definitely not a cloak fastener but instead a fragment of a bone flute. Half of a finger hole remains at the upper edge. A similarly plain bone flute, with a diameter of 1.2-1.7 cm, can be found in the Vienna Collection, the flute being open at both ends, somewhat oval in cross-section, with four finger holes (Moschner 1955: 244). Söderström also described an object (toggle) which in reality was a bone flute (1939: 56f.). Markus Schindlbeck


Moschner, Irmgard, ‘Die Wiener Cook-Sammlung, Südsee-Teil’, Archiv für Völkerkunde, Vienna and Stuttgart, 1955, vol. 10, pp. 136-253.

Söderström, Jan, A. Sparrman’s Ethnographical Collection from James Cook’s 2nd Expedition (1772-75), New Series, Publication no. 6, The Ethnographical Museum of Sweden, Stockholm, 1939.

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