Friday, April 27

Titian's Iconic Tiki Dish S 105

This is one of Titian's more iconic pieces of folk-art kiwiana. This sits alongside the famous Wahine Toby Jug as perhaps the most well-known of Cameron Brown's souvenir ware with Maori themes. When considering these pieces, these days we need to point out that they were produced with minimal Tangata Whenua input. They are products of their own time (1950s and 60s) and hopefully can be enjoyed for what they are - joyful, though unreflective celebrations of New Zealand's important Maori dimension by a Pakeha craftsman who liked and admired Maori culture.
The three on the right are all Titian tiki dishes, and the one on the left is the Crown Lynn Wharetana equivalent, put here by way of comparison. I will mention a few more interesting facts about the second lives of these objects, and the greater cultural significance they have assumed, when I put up the post on the famous Wahine Toby Jug. The latter is now used in New Zealand schools as a teaching resource for cultural appropriateness. 
Here I just want to highlight a couple of points for collectors about these tiki dishes. Firstly, the moulds come in two different forms - first generation and second generation. They can be distinguished by the first generation products being slightly smaller and not having the in-mould makers mark and number on the reverse (only a mark Titian or Titian Studio scratched into a slash of green or black). The air hole on the back is smaller and in a slightly different position as can be seen here:
First Generation mould on right c.1950s; second generation moulds centre and left c.1960s
The interesting thing about the second generation tiki dishes, which were given the mould number S 105 (Souvenir number 5), is that at some stage they began receiving their own special black underglaze stamped marks. The Maori Mere form also had its own special mark similar to this. 
These are pure Kiwiana whatever complex cultural baggage they carry these days. Iconic and again, very much in a folk art tradition. Enjoy!  

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