Kapuahi kuni ʻanāʻanā (priest cup)

Kapuahi kuni ʻanāʻanā (priest cup), a polished stone cup used for ceremony by a kahuna (high ranking priest).

Kapuahi Kuni Anaana (Hawaiian Stone Ritual Cup). Height: 2 1/4 inches, Diameter: 4 inches, Bowl Diameter: 1 3/4 inches, Bowl Depth: 1 1/2 inches, Weight: 1 lb. 0.2 oz. The cup is a speckled brown color and is well crafted. It is hemispherical to bell-shaped and the top, or lip, is flat and smooth. The lip has a chip out of the edge. This ite, has two particular uses. The first was to wet the rim and push it against a soft part of the skin on one's body during a hula to make a noise similar to cupping the hand under the armpit. The second use consisted of an even more interesting practice. Hawaiian Kahunas (priest) would collect a few hairs, nail pairings, spittle, or some other bodily remnant from an enemy and burn it in the cup while pronuncing the appropiate prayer. He would then go and inform the intended victim. So strong was the belief in this ritual that those who were the object of this process would take to his mat and waste away to death, believing that his soul had been consumed.

Cultural Narrative: 

Hawaiians believed that hair, fingernail clippings, and other body wastes held the mana (power) of the person whom these personal items came from.  These items were prayed upon and used against them in a curse by the kahuna (priest or sorcerer) who performed the ritual.  

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