Nukuoro Coconut Grater

A very fine, small early coconut grater in the form of a zoomorphic, four-legged seat. Called duai in Nukuoro (or tuai in the neighboring islands) these utensils are ubiquitous to all households. They are essential elements providing the all-important grated coconut used to make coconut milk and cream as well as oil. The form, while obviously zoomorphic may actually have a deeper representational aspect as a highly stylized human form – slave or victim. The long neck protrudes elegantly with a slight bend giving at the shoulders an impression of a restrained power and enhancing the visual design. The neck retains the traces of the tight binding that was used to hold the serrated grater blade carved from a section of seashell.

Nukuoro Island, Caroline Islands, Para-Polynesia, Micronesia. Breadfruit tree wood (Artocarpus altilis). 50,5 x 29 x 23 cm. 19th century.

Provenance Acquired from the Everett Frye collection in Kahala, Hawaii. Ex coll. : Sherrod Anderson, Honolulu, Hawaii.