Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Ipu Manaia Parirau


Ipu means any narrow mouthed vessel—a word used in the past to describe vessels made from gourds. This vessel has the manaia with carved wings in the form of a beaked figure motif. This beaked figure motif is perhaps the most used and developed decorative element in Māori carving. The form is always shown in profile and usually includes an eye, mouth and sometimes a hand. The manaia represents mana, charisma and achievement.

This pot is hand-built coil pot with all the details hand-carved. The blue colour is another of the special finish that I have been trying to perfect over the last few years. The blue is produced by the addition of oxides, cobalt (blue), manganese (black) to the terra sigillata. Invariably there is some sedimentation of the clay particles in a sigillata. The oxides tend to settle with the fine clay particles. I am able to achieve the effects by picking up the sediment and oxides with a brush and applying it to the vessels “in a painterly fashion”. The oxides seem to have different densities and settle one on top of the other so I can achieve a darker (more to the black) or lighter (more to the blue) by the way I load the brush.

Manos Nathan

Manos Nathan


Te Roroa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi


Since the mid-1980s, Manos has been at the forefront of the Māori ceramic movement. He is co-founder of Nga Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ organization, although his background is in woodcarving and sculpture. (He carved the meeting house at Matatina Marae, Waipoua Forest, on his tribal lands.) His clay works draw on customary art forms and on the Māori cosmological and creation narratives. In 1989, he travelled to the United States on a Fulbright grant to visit Native American potters. A reciprocal visit took place in 1991.