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Quiver piha (peeha)

Quiver piha (peeha)

Place: Tahiti & Society Islands
Category: Ritual

bamboo, coconut shell, fibre, Tahiti and the Society Islands, l. 88 cm, d. 5 cm, Inv. Oz 411

Humphrey Nos. 314, 315, 316: ‘a Quiver or arrow Case made of a large Bamboo, having for a Stopper a small Cocoa-Nut, ingeniously contrived for shutting, and 2 arrows [similar] to those described No. 303, from the Society Isles, ‘(cf. Söderström 1939: 27)

The quiver is made from a section of bamboo cane. The upper end is open, the lower end, serving as the base of the quiver, is closed by an internode. The upper rim of the quiver’s open end is wound round with a plaited string made of coconut fibre, resting in a notch 3 cm wide and several millimetres deep. A hole with a diameter of 0.5 cm has been drilled at an interval of 23 cm from the upper rim, through which runs the string to secure the lid. The egg-shaped lid consists of the shell of a young light-brown coconut. It is 9 cm high, with a diameter of 6 cm in the centre, and an opening with a diameter of 3.9 cm. According to Ellis (1830, I: 301), the quivers were, in contrast to the simple bows, ‘truly elegant in form and appearance’, finely polished and sometimes ornamented with plaited strings of human hair. Kaeppler (1978b: 122) also mentioned ornaments branded into the surface as decorations, e.g., stylised human figures with a triangular torso, with feather diadems and clubs in the hand. Decorative strings of hair as well as ornaments are lacking in the Göttingen example. According to Kaeppler (1978a: 144), one of the two specimens in Florence was made from a Tongan nose flute that Cook had brought to Tahiti on his second voyage, and which was there made into a quiver. Gundolf Krüger


Ellis, William, Polynesian Researches During a Residence of Nearly Eight Years in the Society and Sandwich Islands, London, 1830-1853, vol. 4.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L, ‘Artificial Curiosities’ Being An Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook RN [Exhibition catalogue], Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978a.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L, Cook Voyage Artifacts in Leningrad, Berne and Florence Museums, Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978b.

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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