Early 19th-Century Marquesas Island Stilt Step

Value (2010) | $7,000 Retail$8,000 Retail

It was in my mother's house forever. When she was little, her uncle took it from his wall and gave it to her.

And have you any idea what it is?


Well, we don't get these on the show very often. It comes from a small Pacific island called the Marquesas Island. And it's, in fact, a stilt step. This would be the outside of the pole that it would be fixed onto, and then the gentleman who is riding the stilts would put his foot in here. It's beautifully carved. This is a tiki figure, which is very central to the culture in the Marquesas Island. There is some wonderful carving on the inside, which is probably as a grip for the foot. They would use these in competitions. And they would all get together and try and push each other off or race. And it was a competitive thing, really, you know.


By the males in the society. You see these lines that are on the body here. These represent the tattooing. And the Marquesas did a lot of tattooing of the body, both the male and the female. I'm not sure what wood it was made out of. Quite often things from this part of the world were made of a wood called Toromiro wood. But they were also made out of wood that just sort of washed up on the seashore. This was probably made in the early part of the 19th century. They're all around about this size, normally. Sometimes you have a tiki with other figures underneath. But this is sort of a standard thing. It's a very powerful figure. I think a retail value would be very comfortable at $7,000 to $8,000.


Oh yes.

Wow, that's great.

They do fake these now, but they're very, very different. They don't have the same quality at all. They don't have that sort of strong figure, the central part. It's wonderful.

My husband didn't want us to bring it because he said he was embarrassed to bring this here. He wanted to sell it in a garage sale two weeks ago.



Appraisal Details

Anthony Slayter-Ralph Fine Art
Santa Barbara, CA
Appraised value (2010)
$7,000 Retail$8,000 Retail
Miami Beach, FL (July 10, 2010)
19th Century

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