Wooden feeding funnel, Maori, New Zealand,1890-1925
Within Maori culture these wooden feeding funnels are known as ‘Korere’. The funnel is made of wood inset with abalone shell and carved with interlacing ancestral designs. Korere feed high status individuals such as chiefs when the ability to consume food is restricted. This restriction can be due to activities called ‘tabu’, the origin of the word ‘taboo’. ‘Tabu’ is used to describe a powerful or dangerous situation which must be controlled. One example would be during a tattoo ceremony when the chief has his face marked with traditional moko designs; he could be fed through the feeding funnel. This was for practical as well as ritual reasons; tattooing would cause excessive swelling, and water and healing agents could be passed down the funnel. The Korere would limit physical contact between the food and chief when both are considered charged with ‘mana’ or power, and therefore tabu. However, it is possible this example was carved for the early tourist market and never used for its traditional purpose.
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Glossary: indigenious beliefs
Glossary: feeding funnel
differs from 'feeding cup' as not necessarily used for feeding babies or invalids, sometimes used during cermonies and ritulas such as the feeding of chiefs during tattooing ceremonies, sometimes classed as a relgious object.
Glossary: spout - container component
Tubular protruberance through which the contents of a vessel may be poured or sometimes drunk.