Framed Maori wheku carved from kauri. Small. Contemporary Maori art.


Small framed Maori wheku (carved face). Carved from kauri. Contemporary Maori art.

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Wheku means ‘carved face’

Carved WHEKU artwork crafted from 40,000 year old (estimate) New Zealand Kauri and mounted on an eye catching background with koru design that really makes the artwork pop! Also comes with related story at the back.

  • Overall size: 126mm x 161mm x 26mm (4.96″ x 6.34″ x 1.02″)
  • comes with wall mount
  • description at the back of the frame

It is important to note that the figures in Maori carving, with rare exceptions, are not religious, but secular. They do not represent idols, but renowned tipuna (ancestors) of the iwi (tribe).

The Wheku as found at he apex of the gable on the front of a large carved house, symbolises an important ancestor after who the house was named. The house itself represents his body. The sloping bargeboards being his maihi (arms), the heke (rafters) being his ribs and the inside being his poho (stomach or bosom).

The head is usually represented on its own with no part of the body visible. In old houses it is actually carved on the projecting end of the tahuhu (ridgepole), and the body of the figure will be seen on the ridgepole.

There are many tribal variations in how the head is represented. The three main styles of head in Maori carving are: the wheku, the koruru, and the ruru, each distinguished by the shape around the eyes.

Source: Mike Calton – Maori artist

Additional information

Weight300 g
Dimensions17 × 13 × 3 cm


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