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House Post (Tomor)

Date:
19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Taiwan, Botel Tobago Island
Culture:
Yami people
Medium:
Wood, paint
Dimensions:
H. 81 1/2 x W. 38 in. (207 x 96.5 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Architectural
Credit Line:
From the Collection of Nina and Gordon Bunshaft, Bequest of Nina Bunshaft, 1994
Accession Number:
1995.65.2
  • Description

    The Yami people live in several villages along the shores of Botel Tobago Island, off the southeast coast of Taiwan. This large housepost, or tomor, once acted as the central roof support in a Yami dwelling. Preserved and reused for generations, houseposts were highly valued and passed by inheritance from fathers to their eldest sons. They were decorated with motifs similar to those that formerly adorned the large fishing canoes on which the Yami depended for their livelihood. The circular motifs at the center of this example are known as mata-no-tatara, or "eyes of the canoe," and depict the eyelike designs found on the bows and sterns of fishing vessels. The insectlike figures at the bottom represent Magamoag, an important ancestor credited with bringing the arts of agriculture and boat building to the Yami. Images of Magamoag might have acted, in part, to protect the household from anito, the malevolent souls of the dead. The remaining sections of the post depict more informal scenes of fish and fishing.

  • Provenance

    Nina and Gordon Bunshaft, New York; Nina Bunshaft, until (d.)1994

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
317735

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