Ear Ornament or Pendant (Kuru), Greenstone (nephrite), Maori people

Ear Ornament or Pendant (Kuru)

18th–early 19th century
New Zealand
Maori people
Greenstone (nephrite)
H. 3 1/2 × W. 1/2 in. (8.89 × 1.27 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Richman Family Foundation Gift, 2013
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 353
This small, elongated oval greenstone ornament was worn variously suspended by a length of cordage from the pierced lobe of the ear or around the neck as a pendant by prominent Maori men and women. Greenstone (pounamu) was highly prized and ownership of such ornaments marked the wearer as a person of wealth and status. The ornament is thin and flat in cross section and made from translucent light green stone, polished by grinding with natural abrasives to a matte surface. There is a suspension hole at the upper end, created by drilling a separate, conically shaped hole into either side of the object so that the two holes met in the middle to fully pierce it.
By descent, a San Franciso family; [Taylor A. Dale, Santa Fe, NM, until 2012]; [Tambaran Gallery, New York, 2012-2013]

Kjellgren, Eric. How to Read Oceanic Art. How to Read 3. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014.