Bone Stone Shell

19 Oct 2013 - 20 Jul 2014

Collection Focus gallery, Level 5, Te Papa

Previous Exhibition


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Bone Stone Shell: 25 years on

Bone Stone Shell was a 1988 exhibition of New Zealand jewellery that represented a new way of thinking about materials and place.

Instead of looking to Europe, jewellers and carvers drew inspiration from influences closer to home - in particular, a rich tradition of Māori and Pacific adornment. Rather than working with gemstones and precious metals, they emphasised local materials such as paua shell and pounamu (greenstone). They harnessed a desire that many New Zealanders felt to express a South Pacific identity through their jewellery.

This exhibition presents the original Bone Stone Shell exhibition, its influences, and some of its inheritors - contemporary jewellers using non-precious materials to explore questions of personal and cultural identity.

Te Papa gratefully acknowledges the Friends of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, who generously gifted Bone Stone Shell to the national collection in 1993. We also thank John Edgar for his gift of archival material.

About the original exhibition

These materials and the objects made from them are our homage to the past, our amulets in the present, and our treasures for the future.

John Egdar, Bone Stone Shell catalogue, 1988

Bone Stone Shell: New Jewellery New Zealand opened in Wellington in early 1988. Developed by the Crafts Council for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it went on to tour Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Government-sponsored crafts exhibitions such as Kahurangi (1984) and Treasures from the Land (1985) had travelled overseas before, but Bone Stone Shell was the first to put the spotlight solely on the country’s jewellery. The selection criteria reflected a desire to promote the cultural significance of local materials: exhibitors were chosen partly for their ability to ‘communicate the uniqueness of the New Zealand product’.

Bone Stone Shell featured 12 jewellers and carvers. Only one was Māori, Inia Taylor, but all were interested in exploring local and natural materials, and many explored indigenous forms. For the curator, John Edgar, the show represented ‘a growing awareness of our place in the South Pacific’.

Read more about this work in 'Placement is everything' by Philip Clarke in Off the Wall

Read more about this work in 'No false foreign paradise' by Damian Skinner in Off the Wall

Selected Works

Stone stone, stone bone, stone shell

John S. Edgar

1987

Lure Brooch

Warwick Freeman

1984

Box containing pendant, brooch, ring

Elena Gee

1987

Ceremonial bracelet

Paul Mason

1987

Breastplate

Alan Preston

1987

Fish

Inia Taylor

1987

Necklet (Te ika tere)

Inia Taylor

1987

Necklet

Inia Taylor

1987

Necklet

Jenny Pattrick

1987

Necklet

Inia Taylor

1987

Necklet

Jenny Pattrick

1987

Necklet

Inia Taylor

1987

Flight of birdsrings

Jenny Pattrick

1987

Flight of birdsrings

Jenny Pattrick

1987

Flight of birdsrings

Jenny Pattrick

1987

Flight of birdsrings

Jenny Pattrick

1987

A second coming

Dave Hegglun

1987

A first coming

Dave Hegglun

1987

Land alive 1

Dave Hegglun

1987

Horse necklace

Hamish F. Campbell

1987

Fish necklace

Hamish F. Campbell

1987

Morepork necklace

Hamish F. Campbell

1987

Half-moon breastplate

Paul Annear

1987

Bird/arrow necklace

Paul Annear

1987

Adze

Paul Annear

1987

Bangle

Paul Annear

1987

Stoor

Paul Annear

1987

Necklace

Michael Couper

1987

Necklace

Michael Couper

1987

Cutting stone

John S. Edgar

1987

Three amulets

John S. Edgar

1987

Compass

John S. Edgar

1987

'Cracking up', Coins of the Realm

John S. Edgar

1987

Box containing bracelet and ring

Elena Gee

1987

Box containing pendant, bracelet, earrings

Elena Gee

1987

Flake Necklace

Warwick Freeman

1987

Bone bead necklace

Warwick Freeman

1987

Paua bead necklace

Warwick Freeman

1987

Sun of man neckpiece, sun of man bangle, sun of man brooch

Roy Mason

1987

Enigma bangle, enigma emblem

Roy Mason

1987

Ceremonial bracelet

Paul Mason

1987

Breastplate

Alan Preston

1987

Bangle

Alan Preston

1987

Bangle

Alan Preston

1987

Breastplate

Alan Preston

1987

Alan Preston frame 16

John Daley

circa 1987

Paul Mason frame 3

John Daley

circa 1987

Roy Mason frame 8

John Daley

circa 1987

Warwick Freeman frame 10

John Daley

circa 1987

Elena Gee frame 19

John Daley

circa 1987

John Edgar frame 3

John Daley

circa 1987

Michael Couper frame 15

John Daley

circa 1987

Paul Annear frame 6

John Daley

circa 1987

Hamish Campbell frame 12

John Daley

circa 1987

Dave Hegglun frame 9

John Daley

circa 1987

Jenny Pattrick frame 5

John Daley

circa 1987

Inia Taylor frame 15

John Daley

circa 1987

Hei tiki (pendant in human form)

Unknown

1800-1850

Hei tiki (pendant in human form)

Unknown

1600-1850

Hei tiki (pendant in human form)

Unknown

1600-1850

Kapeu (pendant)

Unknown

1600-1850

Kapeu (ear pendant)

Unknown

1600-1850

Kapeu (ear pendant)

Unknown

1600-1850

Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)

Unknown

1800-1900

Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)

Unknown

1800

Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)

Unknown

1800

Matau (fish hook).

Unknown

1700-1850

Matau (fish hook).

Unknown

1700-1850

Matau (fish hook).

Unknown

1700-1850

Hei matau (pendant)

Unknown

1750-1850

Hei matau (pendant)

Unknown

1750-1850

Hei matau (pendant)

Unknown

1750-1850

Bracelet

Bracelet

Civavonovono (breastplate)

Unknown

1800s

Whalebone chest ornament

1700s

Peacock brooch

G D Beatson Ltd

1940-1950

Brooch

G D Beatson Ltd

1950- 1953

Bracelet

Disabled Servicemen's Re-establishment League (Inc.)

circa 1942

Koru amulet and presentation box

Mr Owen Mapp

1983

Carved sperm whale tooth with wooden presentation box

Mr Owen Mapp

1983-1984

Bangle

Paul Mason

circa 1980

'Whale rider' carving with presentation box

Doug Marsden

1986

Phases of the Moon (Spring Equinox) and box

John S. Edgar

1981

Bangle and box

John S. Edgar

1980

Pendant

Hepi Maxwell

1987

Suspended sculpture with presentation box

Mr Donn Salt

1985

Circle Necklace

Warwick Freeman

1984

Paua Smash Nike

Gina Matchitt

2001

Ring

Karl Fritsch

2009

Earrings

Brian Adam

1980's

Nikau Flower [brooch]

Pauline Bern

2011

Hei tiki (pendant in human form)

Rangi Kipa

2001

Brooch "Haumoana/Birdlings Flat"

Kobi Bosshard

circa 1988

Kawakawa Leaf

Warwick Freeman

1999

Large star

Warwick Freeman

1990

96.04.25

Areta Wilkinson

2001

96.04.17

Areta Wilkinson

2001

96.04.38

Areta Wilkinson

2001

Green Face

Warwick Freeman

1998

Tiki Face

Warwick Freeman

1992

Koru Whistle

Warwick Freeman

1993

Gate

Mr Jason R. Hall

2004

Red flag

Mr Jason R. Hall

2004

Tena koe/Hei Konei ra

Areta Wilkinson

2005

Poi Girl II

Areta Wilkinson

2006

Reserve

Joe Sheehan

2011

Necklace [white]. From the series 'Road Works'

Alan Preston

2007

Necklace [grey]. From the series 'Road Works'

Alan Preston

2007

Necklace [yellow]. From the series 'Road Works'

Alan Preston

2007

White Foreshore

Alan Preston

2003-2004

Paua Pendant

Lisa Walker

2010

What Karl didn't take with him

Lisa Walker

2010

Brooch [05]

Jacqui Chan

2011

Brooch [11]

Jacqui Chan

2011

Brooch [06]

Jacqui Chan

2011

Breastplate Series #3 1999

Sofia Tekela-Smith

1999

Frangipani Breastplate

Alan Preston

1994

Collar

Chris Charteris

2000

Lei (necklace)

Sia Kata Womens Weaving Group Wellington

A different red, a different black

Warwick Freeman

1999-2013