[singlepic id=157 w=450 h=250 float=none]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
Materials originating from the sea figure prominently as markers of status as well as in ceremonial exchanges. The teeth of the sperm whale (Physeter catodon or macrocephalus) continue to be of particular value. Fish and fishing remain very important in the diet and culture of Fijians, especially in coastal regions.