Octopus Lure (USA), Before 1909
This is a Octopus lure.
Hawaiian octopus lures are tools of trickery, as a well-formed cowrie shell was said to attract an octopus like a beautiful woman arouses desire in a man. The lures, leho he`e, were used for fishing in water from 80 to 120 fathoms (146.4–219.6 m [480–720 ft.]) deep and were often used in pairs. They were shaken up and down, and this merry dancing attracted the octopus, which encircled it with its tentacles. Besides catching food, acquiring octopus in this manner was an aristocratic sport, and different kinds of cowrie shells were used during different parts of the day. This lure was collected by Nathaniel B. Emerson, who organized the Hawaiian section of the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle in 1909. At the end of the Exposition the collection was purchased by the US government and became part of the Smithsonian Institution collection.
It is credited
Collected by Dr. Nathaniel B. Emerson, exhibited at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in Seattle, Washington, in 1909, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E257827.
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Its dimensions are
H x W: 11.4 x 19.7 x 7.6 cm (4 1/2 in. x 7 3/4 in. x 3 in.); 28 in. line attached
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.