Stone Pestle (USA), 19th century
This is a Stone Pestle.
Hawaiians did not often trade, sell, or give away objects that were employed every day, such as poi pounders and other implements for preparing food. Even after such items became technologically obsolete, they were usually kept in families as heirlooms. The most important tool for everyday use was the pounder for preparing poi, a vegetable staple made from the steamed, pounded, and slightly fermented corm of the kalo plant. Poi, the staff of life, was eaten in large amounts each day, and its preparation required one or more stone food pounders, pohaku ku`i poi, and a large wooden pounding board. This knobbed style of pounder is designed to be grasped by the neck and is characteristic of the islands of O`ahu and Hawai`i. This large example weighs 4.3 kg (9½ lbs) and probably served for the first stage of beating to break down the whole tuber.
It is credited
Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E11043.
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Its dimensions are
H x Diam: 24.1 x 15.9 cm (9 1/2 x 6 1/4 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.