Objects and Stories
Maori Box for Valuables
What is it?
This is a carved wooden box which would have been used to store personal jewellery and valuables. They were often called feather boxes as they were used to store the feathers that the Maoris used as decorations for their hair and in their ornaments.
The Maori name for these boxes is Wakahuia.
What is it made of?
The box is made from wood and has projecting tiki head and shoulders at each end. Cords would hang from the tiki necks and would be used to hang the box from the roof of the owner's home.
When was it made?
1860 - 1900.
Where is it from?
How did it get to Leeds?
In the 1920s and 1930s, this box was owned by a famous collector called Harry Beasley who collected Maori and other Pacific items at Auctions. When Beasley died, his collections were sold or given to museums like the British Museum and the Christchurch Museum in Hampshire (who loaned and then transferred their world cultures collection to Leeds Museums and Galleries from 1985 onwards).