Gordon Tang Kou lidded Umeke 6x6x3.5″



Gordon Tang Kou lidded Umeke 6x6x3.5″

Gordon’s traditional Hawaiian shapes are widely appreciated by collectors of Hawaiiana both for functional and decorative purposes.  A number of people collect his bowls for poi supper, luckies!

Though koa is a more familiar wood in present times, in ancient times, kou was preferred, especially for poi. Kou is used often now in landscaping in public spaces.  As a result, we’re getting more used to seeing the orange flowers of the Kou tree that was almost wiped out in the last century.

Kou, courtesy of the Bishop Museum Ethnobotany Database

Kou, courtesy of the Bishop Museum Ethnobotany Database

From the Bishop Museum Ethnobotany Database:

Hawaiian Name(s): kou

Scientific Name: Cordia subcordata

Vernacular Name: none

Family: Boraginaceae

Status: Polynesian introduction

Authority: Lam.

Description: Small trees 5-7 m tall.

Habitat Found on all main islands, sparringly naturalized at low elevation, in dry coastal areas (Wagner et al. 1990:392–4).


Non Medicinal Uses: Soft but durable wood made into bowls (‘umeke) & utensils, does not give off flavor (Krauss 1993:22), special ‘umeke mana ‘ai for first–born children made sometimes of kou that had been planted over afterbirths of grandparents (Krauss 1993:23); leaves for dye (Krauss 1993:65). Planted as shade trees near homes and the flowers used for lei (Handy et al. 1972:232), seeds eaten (Wagner et al. 1990:394).

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus: near Halekini

The dimensions in the item description are for the bowl itself; dimensions under ‘additional information’ tab includes packing size when this item is packaged for shipment, mahalo!



Gordon Tang

Honolulu Woodturners member Gordon Tang, with more of his work in the background.

Gordon Tang and his son

Gordon Tang and his son





Gordon Tang Kou lidded Umeke 6x6x3.5″

Additional information

Weight 8 lbs
Dimensions 13 × 13 × 9 in

Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 596-0074