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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Hawaiian Chief bust, similar to a Coco Joe's - anyone recognize it?
Hawaiian Chief bust, similar to a Coco Joe's - anyone recognize it?
Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2010-11-13 4:59 pm   Permalink

I found these two small Hawaiian chief busts at my local Goodwill. They look like your basic Coco Joe's but they are MUCH heavier. They don't feel like resin/plastic, they feel like dense plaster or cement. There are no markings. I don't know a ton about black "lava" tourist items, but I know some of you folks do -- can anyone give me any pointers? A possible manufacturer, likely material, time frame, etc?

This is all I've found --
a whackadoodle eBay listing for one of these at $200, and a sparse item description that doesn't really say anything. There are lots of similar-but-not-this-exact-cast chief busts that go for just a few bucks.

The smaller one is almost 5" tall, the taller one is nearly 6".









These are the images from the similar one I saw on eBay:





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TabooDan
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 18, 2004
Posts: 641
From: BC, Canada
Posted: 2010-11-14 4:57 pm   Permalink

I think these may be from the company Poly-Art that came out of Hawaii and were sold as tourist pieces just like the Coco Joe stuff. I think I have seen one of these marked as such but will have to look. Nice finds anyway!

Mahalo, TabooDan


 
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aquarj
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2002
Posts: 1074
From: SF bay area, CA
Posted: 2010-11-14 8:30 pm   Permalink

Hi Humu -
On first look I would've said Poly Art too, like Taboo Dan. But I think this might be from one of the mystery lava makers.
Buzzy's mega-post in the coco joes thread has become a de-facto reference, and sure enough, he has a shot of a similar one...
Quote:
On 2009-11-03 11:46, Bay Park Buzzy wrote:
Unmarked and Holo Ka Hana


A little more commentary on this. Coco Joe and HIP each had kind of recognizable face styles when they sculpted humans - if you're a lava nerd like me, you can easily tell a HIP girl from a CJ girl. So, the typical CJ Kamehameha bust is easy to recognize without even looking for a marking, and these pieces are obviously very different from that. Poly Art is a little different because they produced some bizarro stuff that has nothing to do with their other items. Probably they had a number of different sculptors. So as Buzzy's pic shows, clearly there was somebody who sculpted a series of these busts with that same style as your pieces, including a female one with a very similar face. But I don't know if that's Poly Art, or maybe Holo Ka Hana (hafta ask Buzzy which one's which in his pic), or maybe totally unmarked. Could be these busts predate the whole CJ/HIP era.

Or maybe Freddie House of Ku knows more. He knows everything about this stuff!

BTW, those feather helmets they wear are called mahi'ole.

-Randy


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leleliz
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 02, 2008
Posts: 1981
From: NorCal
Posted: 2010-11-14 8:32 pm   Permalink

Buzzy already showed her where to find info on Facebook...here is the link to the TC thread :

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=27140&forum=5

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Humuhumu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3601
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2010-11-14 8:41 pm   Permalink

Buzzy to the rescue! These are Holokahana items. He pointed me to this thread, which answers the maker question:
Lava Figures ~ NOT Coco Joes or HIP

In that thread, dogbytes is asking a similar question; different figures, and she had the maker name. As you predicted, aquarj, Freddie House of Ku busted out this bit of snazziness:

Quote:

On 2008-01-27 03:58, HOUSE OF KU wrote:
Aloha Elicia! No new info, but some picts...




Koa and Haunani



Same Menehune, but with lauhala mat.


Large (8")and small (5 1/4)"Koa" Hawaiian Warrior Head




Aloha, Freddie




LOVE these! You're right, aquarj, these faces have a definite "look" -- I love them. Looks like Freddie has one that's even larger than my two.

dogbytes' items came with a note mentioning they were from the "territory" of Hawaii, so I suppose they're pre-statehood? '50s, prolly?


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