Paddle-club 1932.680

Paddle-club, Culacula This heavy paddle-club is entirely carved with very fine Fijian-style geometric patterns and a number of single, paired and mirrored anthropomorphic figures. Very elongated, they differ from the Tongan-style figures found on some Western Polynesian weapons. The two

Photo Presentation of barkcloth LS.121058.TC1

Presentation of barkcloth A large sheet of barkcloth (masi) is carried across the ceremonial ground (rara). Possibly photographed by A. B. Brewster, 1880-1900. Fiji. Collected by G. K. Roth. LS.121058.TC1 Solevu installation This installation evokes the range of objects exchanged

Painting by Josua Toganivalu 2013.27

‘The Journey’ Josua Toganivalu, 2009 The painting reflects on the notion of life as a journey. The earth colours and grid-like structure are inspired by barkcloth. Geometrical motifs alternate with figurative scenes, including a canoe (waqa), a compass, and two

Garland 2013.30

Garland, Salusalu Salusalu are garlands worn during ceremonial and festive occasions. Created by women, they are presented to the guests of honour at events, normally when being welcomed. Made of hibiscus (vau) fibre, they may be further decorated with fresh

Garland 2013.32

Garland, Salusalu Salusalu are garlands worn during ceremonial and festive occasions. Created by women, they are presented to the guests of honour at events, normally when being welcomed. Made of hibiscus (vau) fibre, they may be further decorated with fresh

Barkcloth 1963.209

Barkcloth Decorated with thirty-seven stencilled motifs, this piece is not a typical example of Fijian barkcloth or a copy of a masi G. K. Roth encountered in Fiji. He commissioned it from women in Vatulele to record the existence, name

Buddha’s Word: The Life of Books in Tibet and Beyond

28 May 2014 – 17 January 2015

This exhibition charts some of the incredible journeys that the words of the Buddha have taken: crossing mountains and oceans and taking different material forms in different places. It focuses on books, not just as objects of learning and study, but as relics of the Buddha, and sacred objects in their own right.

Portrait of Baron Anatole von Hügel P. Voluzan, 1899-1900 2013.14

Portrait of Baron Anatole von Hügel P.  Voluzan, 1899-190o It thus comes about that up to the present von Hügel’s permanent memorial is the Museum. Those who remember the condition of affairs before and during the closing decade of the

Francis Dufty studio portraits 1871 – 77 Photo Cakobau

Cakobau is dressed vakatoga or in the chiefly Tongan style, with a long skirt of gatu barkcloth gathered and folded high up beneath the ribs, and a fringed white barkcloth waist sash.  

Photo Adi Litia Samanunu

Adi Litia Samanunu’s portrait was actually taken by Sir John Thurston in 1869, but subsequently reprinted by Dufty under his studio’s name. This is the only known photograph of Adi Litia Samanunu.

Photo Adi Arieta Kuila and Timoce

Adi Arieta Kuila was the eldest daughter of Cakobau and Adi Litia Samanunu of Bau. Although the boy is named as ‘Timoce’, this is probably Ratu Peni Tanoa.

Photo Viti Levu highlanders

The men are wearing ulumate (wigs of human or horse hair), characteristic of Viti Levu.

Photo Koroicata

Koroicata was a member of the Lasakau – one of the fishing or seafarer tribes at Bau island, just off the east coast of Viti Levu.

Photo Solomon boy and Ra Coast Fijian

Both men have posed for the camera wearing Fijian chiefly accoutrements and holding clubs probably used by Dufty as studio props.

Photo soldier of the Armed Native Constabulary

Armed with an Enfield rifle complete with bayonet, and wearing an ANC issue snake-buckled cartridge belt, he is otherwise dressed as a Christian warrior.

Photo Viti Levu highlander

The man is wearing a tabua (presentation whale tooth), which is normally an important item of presentation, not an ornament.

Photo Rotuman man and female relatives

The man is dressed entirely as a European, in suit, waistcoat, shirt and tie, trousers and boots. The two women wear vinivoa (pinafore bodices) introduced by the missionaries, and cloth isulu (wrap-around skirts).

Photo Fijians

Cricket was introduced by the British and quickly picked up by Fijians. It remains a popular sport in some parts of Fiji today.

Photo young woman of Lomaloma

She is wearing a liku skirt of stripped, pleated and variously dyed pandanus leaf, with a long hanging tassel of probably dark red dyed vau hibiscus bast fibres, the latter being indicative of chiefly status.

Photo Joeli Bulu

Joeli Bulu was influential in the conversion of Cakobau, the Vunivalu of Bau, to Christianity in the 1850s, and was for many years Cakobau’s personal chaplain.

Photo Samoan woman

Many of the items shown were Dufty’s studio props and appear in other portraits. Dufty also sold Fijian curios, and the priest’s dish on the left was bought by Sir Arthur Gordon.

Photo Ratu Timoci Tavanavanua

Timoci is holding an iula drisia throwing club and wearing a cotton isulu with a white barkcloth waistsash and smoked barkcloth iwabale shoulder sash.

Photo Adi Senisia

Adi Senisia is holding a feather duster that was used by Dufty as a studio prop, and appears in eleven other portraits.

Photo Emily Trask

Francis Dufty made a second portrait of Emily Trask, that time wearing traditional Fijian clothing.

Breastplate Z 2749

                    Breastplate, Civatabua Formed of seven plates of whale ivory, and of Tongan origin, this breastplate was amongst the first objects collected by von Hügel in Fiji during his journey up

Manos Creadoras (Creative Hands): Chilean arts and crafts

Friday 16 May, 5-9pm Museums at Night The museum is delighted to welcome three Chilean artists travelling to the UK for the first time. Join us for this special evening opening; drop in and talk to the artists who will

Photo Double-hulled canoe P.43887.HNL

Double-hulled canoe, Drua A small drua about to cavu, which involves lifting the sail from one end of the main hull, sliding it along to slot into the other end, thereby changing direction. Small double canoes continued to be made

Map Fiji Spear Z 3963

                      Spear, Saisai This saisai takes its shape from forked fishing spears.The four heads are bound to the central shaft with plaited coir cords (magimagi). Generally reserved for chiefs and

Club Z 3097

Club, Totokia This totokia is entirely carved with very fine zigzags pattern (tavatava) and a number of small figures: one figure holds a totokia club, one a turtle and another is being attacked by a shark. Originally from Fiji. Acquired

Map Western Polynesia Club Z 3296

Club, Bowai Very large and heavy bowai. A cord of plaited coir threaded with white glass beads is attached around the handle. The size of this club suggests that it was owned by someone of high status. Fiji. Collected by

Photo Navukinivanua P.99803.VH

Navukinivanua One of the last great drua, named Navukinivanua (the turner of the land), with members of Cakobau’s family and his retainers. The name likely refers to the changing political situation following Fiji’s cession to Britain in 1874. The canoe

Breastplate Z 2724

Shell breastplate, Civa Polished shell, probably gold-lipped oyster (Pinctada maxima) strung on two lengths of twisted pandanus fibre. Shell breastplates like this probably preceded whale ivory ones. Fiji. Collected by Sir A. Gordon, 1875-80. Z 2724 The sea Materials originating

Garland 2013.29

Garland, Salusalu Salusalu are garlands worn during ceremonial and festive occasions. Created by women, they are presented to the guests of honour at events, normally when being welcomed. Made of hibiscus (vau) fibre, they may be further decorated with fresh

Photo Government House P.99680.VH

Government House A small child, possibly the Governor’s son, Jack, seated on a pony with two Fijian attendants in front of Government House. Note the combination of Fijian and European-style architecture. Nasova, Ovalau Island, Fiji. Collected by A. von Hügel,

Photo Government House dining room P.27782.VH

Government House dining room The back wall of the dining room at Government House. The arrangement of weapons, bowls, pottery and spirit houses on a gatuvakaviti barkcloth, was overseen by Lady Gordon with assistance of Alfred Maudslay and Anatole von

Club Z 39431

        Club, Vunikau Vunikau translates as ‘tree-root’, from which the head of this type of club is carved. The buttress roots have been cut off. The head and butt are inlaid with large star-shaped pieces of whale

Club Z 3094

        Club, Totokia Totokia take their shape from the fruit of the pandanus tree (balawa). In order to give a better grip, the handle is carved with geometrical patterns in low relief. In this case, repeated handling

Club Z 3048

        Club, Sali Sali are probably named after the clawed flower of one of the wild banana-like plants (Musa species) found in the Fiji bush. The ripple visible in the wood is characteristic of Casuarina wood (nokonoko).

Paddle-club Z 2968

Paddle-club, Kinikini Traces of red pigment on the surface may indicate that this kinikini was used in dances, when weapons were adorned with pigments, fresh leaves or feathers.This enhanced their effect visually as well as aurally. Fiji. Collected by Sir

Club Z 3044

        Club, Gata waka Spurred clubs like this one have often been referred to as ‘gunstock clubs’ because of their resemblance to muskets. However, they were in use in Fiji prior to the introduction of firearms. The

Club Z 2983

            Club, Siriti The head is carved with turtles, birds and an anthropomorphic figure in low relief. Objects were often exchanged between residents at Government House, which might explain why the provenance of this club

Paddle club Z 3293

Paddle-club, Culacula Although undecorated, the exquisite finish and scale of this huge paddle-club suggests it belonged to a high-status person. It is likely that culacula took their shape from the culacula crab, the serrated sides of the paddle recalling spikes

Club Z 2974

            Club, Siriti Siriti clubs take their shape from the butterfly fish (Chaetodontidae). They were probably used for dances and ceremonies rather than war. Originally from Fiji. Acquired by A. von Hügel from S. Fenton,

Club Z 3033

        Club, Sali Often used in dances, sali were also efficient weapons. On a battlefield, the bladed cheeks of these clubs were designed to cut through bone rather than smash it. The head of this sali is

Paddle-club Z 2966

Paddle-club, Kinikini Kinikini were often carried as symbols of authority.  Their blades are usually carved with fine tavatava patterns, broken up by plain crescent and circular patterns in the uncarved wood. Fiji. Collected by A. Maudslay, 1875-80. Z 2966

Club Z 3051

        Club, Sali The cheeks of sali spurred clubs were often decorated with panels of zigzags and circles in relief. Here, the back and the top of the spur is carved with delicate bands of zigzags formed

Club Z 3111

        Club, Totokia The handle of this totokia is carved with fine Maori-style patterns. Four circular burnt marks are imprinted into the curved part of the head. Von Hügel’s label adhered to the shaft suggests that this

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