Kou lidded umeke, Gordon Tang, 9.5 x 7″



This kou lidded umeke by Gordon Tang measures 9.5 x 7″ and includes traditional Hawaiian butterfly pewa or patches.

Gordon’s traditional Hawaiian shapes are widely appreciated.

Though koa is a more familiar wood in present times, in ancient times, kou was preferred, especially for poi.

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).

Specific gravity of wood: 0.45

Dye Color and Parts: Warm brown (senescent leaves)

Location on Bishop Museum Kalihi Campus: near Halekini
The actual size is 9.5″ x 7″. The specifications tab includes the size and weight when packed for shipping. 1640-T005

Gordon Tang

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


Additional information

Weight 12 lbs
Dimensions 16 × 15 × 15 in

Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 596-0074