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August 5, 2007

Maori Carving of the Head of Christ

Photo of Altar Frontispiece Featuring Maori Carving of Christ at Jerusalem on the Wanganui RiverAltar Frontispiece Featuring Maori Carving of Christ Crownded with Thorns

This carving of the head of Christ is the center piece of the altar frontispiece in St. Joseph's Catholic church at Jerusalem on the Whanganui River in New Zealand. (See my photo of the Whanganui River) Christ is represented in traditional Maori fashion with face tattoos (ta moko) and a crown of thorns. Paua (abalone) shell is used to decorate the carving.

The small village of Jerusalem has figured large in the post-European history of New Zealand. It was here in 1907 a diminutive French woman, Suzanne Aubert, founded the order of the Sisters of Compassion. And it the 60s it was home to a florishing hippy commune lead by the poet James K. Baxter.

Here is a photo of the entire carving that makes up the frontispiece of the altar at the church in Jerusalem.

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