Bone Maori Fish Hook Necklaces
The Maori fish hook is not only in demand among kayakers, boaters, surfers, and other watersports enthusiasts. Also those who are interested in indigenous cultures, especially in the Polynesian Maori culture, like myself value these carved pendants. The Maori fish hook necklace was often worn by Maori warriors during ceremonial dances and is a convincing expression of authority and power.
The spiritual and historical meaning of the Maori fish hook is appealing to many. Moreover, the level of craftsmanship expressed through these little works of art is stunning. Especially in times where mass-produced, non authentic products are flooding the markets, genuine, handmade items, such as the bone Maori fish hook necklace, are true gems.
Historically Maori carvers made their fish hooks, which purpose initially only was utilitarian, of whale, albatross, dog, cow, and human bone. They also crafted their fish-catching tools of the highly treasured semi-precious rock greenstone called pounamu. The fact that well carved fish hooks were an essential possession instigated the use of wearing them as necklaces, thus reducing the risk on theft or loss. This led, together with the development of the art of carving, to the ornamental use of the Maori fish hook necklace.
Nowadays the most commonly used materials to create Maori fish hook necklaces are bone (generally from cattle), pounamu (New Zealand greenstone jade), and in lesser amount Australian black jade, exotic types of wood such as ancient kauri wood, and red agate.
Renowned New Zealand carvers such as Lilach Paul, Hepi Maxwell, Len and Candy Kay, Kerry Thompson, and Stanley Nathan, make use traditional techniques as well as more contemporary designs to create their little works of art. Here are a few examples. Click on the photos or links to go to the respective shop to view more fish hook necklaces and find out about prices and buying.