1979.126.2 | Bifacial head

Bifacial head
Before 1843, 19th century
20.3 x 19.7 x 19.7 cm
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

Participation in international trade led New Brunswick mariners to foreign and exotic locations around the globe such as Shanghai, Antwerp and Sydney. The Saint John whaler Margaret Rait called at the remote Pacific isle of Easter Island in 1843, while on a voyage that lasted three years and four months.

Source : The Golden Age of Sail [Web tour], by New Brunswick Museum (see Links)

  • What

    The painted bifacial head is made from reeds, barkcloth and wood.

  • Where

    On this particular voyage, the Margaret Rait called at Callao, Peru, and Talcahuano, Chile, for supplies before returning around Cape Horn to Saint John.

  • When

    The artifact was donated in 1844 to the Saint John Mechanics' Institute, a forerunner of the New Brunswick Museum.

  • Who

    The images on each side of the barkcloth head may represent the two faces of Rau-hiva-aringa-erua, son of a chief and a legendary warrior born with two faces, one facing forward and the other backward.