Manaia wallhanger or manaia on a stand. This is a beautiful contemporary Maori artwork. It portrays the typical serpentine form of ‘Te Manaia’. The artwork is crafted from plantation grown hardwood and embellished with NZ paua (abalone) shell.
- size manaia wall hanger:
- size manaia on stand:
The meaning of Te Manaia
Manaia – spiritual guardianThe manaia is a guardian spirit (a supernatural being) and plays an important role in the Maori world. According to the Maori every person on Earth has a Guardian Spirit which can be described as an unseen light surrounding each individual.
During life this guardian is a protector from evil and untimely accident. And at death the guardian guides the spirit of the departed person safely to a spiritual doorway where it is re-united with the ancestors from the ancient homeland of Hawaiki.
Te Manaia (the manaia) are usually depicted in side profile, symbolising their role as messengers (ie. part in the spirit world and part in the earthly world). They normally have the had of a bird (sky) the body of a man (earth) and the tail of a fish (sea) symbolic of the balance they have between the realms. The three fingers and toes have varied tribal meanings. To some they represent birth, life and death.
To others they represent the three baskets of knowledge.
And yet to others faith, hope and love. Sometimes Te Manaia is depicted with a fourth finger, symbolising the afterlife.
Source: Mike Calton – Maori artist