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Abstract

The object, recently identified as being made of Thespesia populnea (family Malvaceae), is a baton, or ua, measuring 141 cm long; it is from a private collection (G.LL 17426/200026). The modeling of the heads is particularly fine, enabling us to suggest that this work of art dates from the first European contacts. The object is sculpted in a pinkish wood, characteristic of makoi, the name the islanders gave to Thespesia populnea, the ' rose wood of Oceania '. This wood, sometimes the color of salmon, has the slight perfume of a rose, and is a material of very fine grain that carves easily and takes a beautiful polish.

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