The islanders have used these implements for centuries. This example could be more than a hundred years old. The mortar is carved from a dense rainforest hardwood and the pestle was shaped from a rare stone found only in one riverbed in Gatokae Island. Thus, the local name “kato” (pronounced kah-toe). The mortar has four legs carved to resemble bent knees and has a rounded bottom to facilitate tilting the vessel while in use. The pestle depicts a human head, probably the representation of an ancestor. Because of the size and the carved head, it can be assumed that this one belonged to the priest, rather than a domestic family.
Antique from the early 1900's.
Quote OCEANIC ART by Anthony JP Meyer (owner of Gallerie Meyer in Paris)
"Stone mortars and pestles are the oldest works of art found so far in the South Pacific. Although we have no means of dating them with certainty, it is firmly believed that some of them are thousands of years old. The mortars were used for preparing food, paint and magical potions employed in sacred ceremonial rites."
Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands.
Personally Collected from the Timoti Family Firebird Voyage.
Dimensions 18.5"H x 10"W x 7"D
top of page