Chuuk Pounder


An elegant and finely carved pounder made from a single piece of white sea coral, comprising a flat handle adorned by four equidistantly carved relief nipples and a tubular neck that broadens to a generous pounding surface. This pestle was intended for pulverizing edible roots and fruits, primarily breadfruit and taro root, into poi. The pounded substance was then blended with water into a highly nutritious paste.

Traditional calabash bowls were used as containers to hold poi mixtures, and traveling royalty were accompanied by their own poi maker, with his or her own poi-making implements like this one. As there was a lack of stone on a Micronesian Coral Atoll, Kanakas used coral to create such pounders.

In good condition with smooth surface to base of pounder, indicating decades of use. Small loss to side of finial.

19th century or earlier
Coral rock
Height: 6 ½ in, 16 ½ cm

Private Collection, Berlin, Germany

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