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Oceania
Raivavae, Austral Islands
Drum, Pahu-Ra
ca. 1800–1850
Tamanu wood (Calophyllum inophyllum), sharkskin, sennit
H. 54 in. (137.1 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 80.5.3


With the coming of Europeans in the late eighteenth century, metal tools became popular trade items in the Austral Islands and throughout Polynesia, and they soon replaced those made of materials such as bone, stone, and teeth. The new tools not only allowed work to be completed more rapidly, but they also made intricate carving easier. This drum, made with metal tools, is similar in form and in patterns to earlier ones, but its carving is much more complex and elaborate.