The ancient Polynesians believed that the "Honu" (sea turtle) carried the map of the world on its back shell. Kanaloa, who was their god of the sea, could shape-shift into the form of the Octopus. In the painting, the map on the turtle's back portrays Kanaloa guiding Polynesians to distant islands across the pacific with his "map of tentacles.'
The eye of Kanola is located directly over Raiatea, an island next to Tahiti in the Society Islands. REaiatea is the home of the ancient stone temple "Taputapu Atea." This sacred temple by the ocean is considered the umbilical cord or "piko" of all Polynesian culture.
Before a canoe could set sail for new settlements, Polynesian voyagers first had to go to Taputapu Atea, where they could take a cornerstone from the temple to place on their new-found land.
Marcia Ray has included in this work the central elements used for Polynesian voyaging. To navigate, these expert sailors used a sophisticated knowledge of the stars, of ocean and land currents, and of the phases of the moon - passed on from one generation to the next via oral chant.
The Polynesians believed that the dolphin, shark, turtle and octopus were "helpers" or "Amakua," guiding each person's journey through the voyage of life. The painting thus portrays not only turtle and octopus-but also shark and dolphin, here tattooed in traditional Polynesian design.
To produce this work, Marcia received generous kokua (assistance) from modern-day Polynesian sailors who are perpetuating the art of ancient Pacific voyaging.
This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 25 October, 2011.