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Tiki Central Forums Collecting Tiki Is this Polynesian?
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Is this Polynesian?
Kono
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-04-28 8:38 pm   Permalink

I yanked this pic off of a current ebay auction. I've got a couple pieces in this same style, one 12" and one 30+". I always see these described as "tiki" or "Hawaiian" or "Polynesian" but I've had my doubts, suspecting that they're perhaps from the Philippines or Bali or Indonesia. The head and face somewhat resembles the Philippine dragon masks discussed in a previous thread.

Anyone know more about this carving style?



Here's the ebay auction I ripped the pic from just to cite my source:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=29460&item=3908779425&rd=1

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Sneakytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 1795
From: Boise, Idaho
Posted: 2004-04-28 11:43 pm   Permalink

That definitely has the same characteristic carving style as most mass produced Phillipino tourist Tikis, I'd bet it's from the P.I. Kitschy angular design on the face though.

 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2004-04-29 02:18 am   Permalink

You guys are quite right, it's a tourist Tiki from the Phillipines, and even though it is a nicer one, I like to call those wares, quoting Paul Theroux, "nameless pieces of hacked wood".
Which brings out an interesting question, which has been bugging me since Trader Vic's has, because of cost, begun having the Tikis for their new restaurants manufactured in Bali and the Phillipines, and others have made a business selling Tikis carved in Asia on e-bay.

This is a totally subjective judgement, but although these Asian artisans are masterful craftsman and can whip up a carving like nobody else, AND they have fine wood over there, I can't warm up to these kind of Tikis.

So if my concept of Polynesian Pop is based on the definition of Tikis being non-authentic, modern, carved by non-Polynesians, why would I seperate the Asian carvings from the American ones?

There is something about the look that strikes me as not quite right. Actually, thanks to his years of experience, Trader Vic's CEO Hans Richter has been sensitive enough to this issue and called them "too feminine", and is trying to change that.

Here is my take on it. It might strike some people as absurd that I am asking for authenticity in non-authenticity, but it is not so in my view:
It has nothing to do with nationality (I am not American), but to me the American Tikis, vintage and revival, are conscious, artistic attempts to interpret and play with the concept of the Polynesian paradise and it's iconography. They are interpretations of man's eternal fascination with an earthly Garden of Eden, they pursue the dream.

The Asian Tikis are contract carvings copied from photos mostly, and the makers have no connection with the why and how the orignals came about. In this way, the mistakes that creep into some of the carvings are not really funny, they just prove the total lack of connection to the source. To me, there has to be that spark of inspiration taken from Polynesian culture (or nowadays, Polynesian Pop culture) that defines a piece, however removed and weird, to become good Polynesian Pop. Mere copies have no mana.


 
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chisel slinger
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Joined: Feb 23, 2004
Posts: 263
From: columbus,ohio
Posted: 2004-04-29 07:16 am   Permalink

Bravo!!!!!!! the heart is the key.

 
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Kono
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-04-29 07:32 am   Permalink

Thanks for your thoughts on this. Do you think this tiki was inspired by genuine Polynesian style carvings? Here's a crappy pic of my large one. Definitely not quickly hacked out but it is of the same motif.



Is that a Polynesian style or design or do you think it's of Asian origin (the style, not the actual carving)?


 
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Kava King
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Joined: Sep 20, 2002
Posts: 217
From: Kensington-on-Avondale
Posted: 2004-04-29 09:22 am   Permalink

Looks to be another "Ed Roth style" (not particulary Polynesian) to me.
I'd go ahead and paint in the bulging eyes with lots of red veins and add a lustfully wagging tongue!

[ This Message was edited by: Kava King on 2004-04-29 09:23 ]


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2004-04-29 12:27 pm   Permalink

It is fierce, it is inspired by Ku, but yes, it is only a Poly-asian Tiki.

I really like crosscultural art forms, yet somehow I want to keep Asian and Polynesian apart. That's just me though.

I guess years from now someone will look back and report "In the 2000s, the Tiki revival brought on a new demand for carved godheads, and importers of Asian handicrafts came up with the idea to have Tikis carved by inexpensive, crafty Asian artisans and shipped to the United States..."

Yours is a an 80s or 90s tourist Tiki, though.I got one too.


 
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The Monitors
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 08, 2003
Posts: 254
From: The ILL streets of Santa Clarita, CA
Posted: 2004-04-29 12:53 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-04-29 02:18, bigbrotiki wrote:

The Asian Tikis are contract carvings copied from photos mostly, and the makers have no connection with the why and how the orignals came about. Mere copies have no mana.




Ironically, a Filipino citizen living in America, I agree with Bigbro.

The Ifugau tribes in the Philippines worship thousands of gods unique only to our culture, yet most of the carvers choose to look beyond their backyard and copy tikis from other races. Grass is greener on the other side mentality.

I wish that my fellow countrymen would wake up and be proud of their own culture. Until then...mabuhay
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tiki mick
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 11, 2003
Posts: 398
From: Socal
Posted: 2004-04-29 1:31 pm   Permalink

It's funny you should say that..I am married to a filipina, and she is connstantly knocking her own culture...

I can't figure out why! Filipinos have a work ethic you would not believe, natural class, (even if they are poor) and the most outgoing and friendly attitude you will ever see!

Thier food is really good, probably the first real "fusion" cuisine....

Many of them were top tiki carvers!

They are absolutely wonderful people, old fashioned, religious, moral, resepctful, hard working!

Plus, the women are stunningly gorgeous (even thought they often say "farty" instead of "party" !!!

I love filipinos and can't wait to visit there one day!


 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11192
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2004-04-29 1:58 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-04-29 13:31, tiki mick wrote:
I am married to a filipina



You're a lucky guy! These are the most gorgeous women in the world...many of them danced in Polynesian floorshows.

Filipinos were the backbone of the Polynesian restaurant business (they had a subtle rivalry with the Chinese...), to list only a few of the influential ones:

Ray Buhen, mixologist, original owner, Tiki Ti
Milan Guanko, Tiki carver, places to numerous to mention
Junior Cabong, owner Royal Hawaiian, Long Beach
Andres Bumatay, unique Tiki carver
Tony Ramos, mixologist, Don The Beachcomber etc.
Gecko, Tiki carver, Polynesiac, life artist


 
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Benzart
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 09, 2004
Posts: 10365
From: Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Posted: 2004-04-29 2:13 pm   Permalink

I used to work for a man who imported a wood carver from Burma and his carvings were beautiful but definately Aisian and didn't sell well.His looked similar to these posts. After being here awhile, he began to figure the Western form and "Lost" the Slanted eyes, pointy features and the Eastern style .
As he became "Americanized" his carving changed to fit Our profile. It was like BigBro said, once he quit carving from pictures his carvings totally changed
There are LOTS of these carvings on ebay and many brom Bali and indonesia and they all suffer the same thing. Spectacular carvings, but no heart or feeling from within transported to the piece.
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kingslod
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 173
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2004-04-29 4:16 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2004-04-29 07:32, Kono wrote:
Thanks for your thoughts on this. Do you think this tiki was inspired by genuine Polynesian style carvings? Here's a crappy pic of my large one. Definitely not quickly hacked out but it is of the same motif.



I saw a carving just like this on Kauai. It was in a re-creation of a traditional river village. I know it was kinda touristy, but if the statue *was* fake, that would be really depressing. I have a picture of it somewhere...


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Kono
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 08, 2003
Posts: 1266
From: Orlando
Posted: 2004-04-29 6:08 pm   Permalink

Well I'm glad to know that it is at least a somewhat traditional Hawaiian influenced design. I like the tiki myself (the big one that I have), I was just curious as to it's origin of style. I thought it was some sort of Indonesian or Balinese deity or something. As far as being a tourist tiki, I'm sure all of my tikis were made to be purchased by tourists. No Bishop Museum here! Here are a few more pics of it (and a nosey camera hog):








 
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Tikiwahine
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 09, 2003
Posts: 3288
From: Victoria, BC
Posted: 2004-04-29 6:11 pm   Permalink

Well he DOES have that typical constipated stance. Thank for the pictures, cute puppy too! I've only ever seen masks of that style.

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Rattiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2003
Posts: 422
From: Key West, FL
Posted: 2004-04-30 05:52 am   Permalink

Hmmmm... Well BigBro I can see what you are saying, but then again there is not a lot of logic to it. This piece is MOST definitiely a Banuae piece and costs a dollar or two at the most there. Personally I am not crazy about it (albeit I own one) because it is just a bad cheesy design. The Infugao do have many gods that they worship and they have traditionally carved them out of wood to guard their rice fields, homes etc from bad spirits. I have several of their own 'tiki' (style) gods on and around my front door that were actually used in peoples homes and are well weathered from that use. The Infugao were headhunters and I believe cannibalistic as well at one time. So I can't see how an Ifugao carver that carves his own Gods for the same reasons as the Polynesians and other South Pacific cultures (of which they border on) would not know what the Poly-Pop 'Gods' were about. They certainly would have more direct knowledge of mana then say, some guy in South Carolina ripping through cypress with a chain saw! I think this is more about the badly done, cheesy design then anything else.

Also, as you said, the Philippinos were a very intrigal part of the Poly-Pop movement. The P.I. were also part of the Pacific territories we held (and mostly still hold, as they are one of the few we let go). The dream of Eden on Earth, or 'Bali Hai', of the returning WWII servicemen was built as much on their experiences there, as it was in the rest of the tropical Pacific and Polynesia. So it makes sense there would be Tikis (real and commercial) coming out of there, and they probably have been for up to 50+ years.

Bali/Indonesia/Indochina is of course a VERY different story as their cultures were heavily influnced by their name sakes, India and China, and it shows in their work.


[ This Message was edited by: Rattiki on 2004-04-30 06:06 ]


 
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