Rare and historically important. The full taxidermy mount raised on a later Kauri base. Slight wear exhibited but overall preserved in superb condition. L.1140mm H.600mm
Provenance: Private Auckland collection
The Maori dog or Kuri has been extinct since the early 1860â€™s not only in New Zealand but throughout Polynesia. The Kuri arrived in New Zealand with the first Polynesian settlers and it was probably used in the hunting of the Moa as remains have been found in Moa hunter village middens. The dogs were highly prized by the Maori as evidenced by the cave paintings of the animal found in South Island caves. They were domesticated and bred as pets. They were used for hunting and their skins were used to make sacred cloaks. With the increase of European settlement after 1840 the Kuri dog declined in number, eventually becoming extinct due to inbreeding with imported animals. The taxidermist of this superb example is unknown as the animal had become extinct long before well-known taxidermists, such as Andres Reischek, who arrived in 1877, began working in New Zealand.
In July 2011 Art and Object sold a Maori Kuri dog head (lot 257). This head along with a full taxidermy mounted Kuri dog are the only other known examples, both are held in the national collection at Te Papa Tongarewa.