Lidded Milo Umeke 5″H x 5″D by Gordon Tang $450
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.
The bark of milo was used for cordage fiber, similarly to hau, but it is inferior in quality to hau and to olona. The tree also yields tannin, dye, oil, medicine and gum, from various parts of the plant. The milo wood was skillfully crafted into poi bowls called `umeke `ai, and into plates, too. Calabashes/bowls of kou wood were more highly prized than those of milo, and were more often used. Milo wood is flavorless, since it is lacking in any unpleasant-tasting sap that could contaminate stored food.
The milo tree is a small to medium-sized one, growing to less than 40 feet high. The trunk can be 2 feet in diameter at full maturity. The bark is corrugated, with scaly twigs. The branches are widely spread and usually horizontal, making for an ideal shade tree. The glossy heart-shaped leaves are 3-5 inches across. Young leaves are edible. Bell-shaped pale yellow flowers with maroon or purple centers turn purplish-pink as they with in their short one day hibiscus life. Following the flowering stage, the one inch diameter seeds grow in globular 5-celled woody cases that have downy hairs on their surface. These remain on the plant for sometime, and ripen only in areas of dry climate.
Milo wood has an attractive grain that takes to a high polish and, in addition to food utensils and containers, was fashioned into paddles and other carved objects, as well as for an occasional canoe, although koa was considered to be the most popular material for canoes”.
The dimensions listed in the ‘additional information’ tab includes packing for shipment.
Lidded Milo Umeke 3.25″H x 4.25″D by Gordon Tang $195