Kou ‘Umeke by Gordon Tang 4.25″H x 9.25″D $585


In stock


Kou ‘Umeke by Gordon Tang 4.25″H x 9.25″D $585



Gordon Tang’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!


‘Umeke ‘ai is an honored implement in a Hawai’i home, for through the ceremony of eating poi one at a time from the bowl at the center. The ‘umeke ‘ai filled with kalo (taro) is considered the means of survival of the people of Hawai`i Nei.

‘Umeke la’au is the Hawai’i name for these containers or calabashes of wood, which were used for the storage, transport and serving of food in various stages of preparation.


Kou (Cordia subcordata) is in the Borage or Foget-me-not family (Boraginaceae). Other native members include nama or hinahina kahakai (Nama sandwicensis), hinahina (Heliotropium anomalum var. argenteum), and kīpūkai (H. curassavicum).

Well known non-native kin include the tree heliotrope (Tournefortia argentea) commonly seen along the salty Hawaiian coasts; borage (Borago officinalis), used in European cuisine; comfrey (Symphytum spp.); and kou haole or Geiger tree (Cordia sebestena), a commonly used landscape tree in the islands in urban areas along streets, business districts, public parks, housing common areas, and private yards.

Early Hawaiians certainly brought kou with them as one of the canoe plants since it is such a highly esteemed wood. They were planted as a favorite shade tree around houses and by the seashore. Women would beat their kapa under kou trees. Kou was considered as one of the best woods for carvings along with the native koa and milo, and the Polynesian introduced kamani. Kou was prized because of the beauty of the grain and ease of cutting and carving.

The dimensions listed in the ‘additional information’ tab includes packing for shipment.


Kou ‘Umeke by Gordon Tang 4.25″H x 9.25″D $585

Additional information

Weight 12.6 lbs
Dimensions 10.25 × 15.25 × 15.25 in

Honolulu, Hawaii (808) 596-0074