Breastplate Z 2746

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Breastplate, Civatabua
The small protrusion along the top edge evokes the hinge of pearl oyster shells, from which civa breastplates were made.
Fiji. Collected by Sir A. Gordon, 1875-80. Z 2746

Whale ivory
Tongan and Samoan canoe-builders were also renowned for making whale ivory necklaces and breastplates. Obtained through exchange or from communities settled locally, these objects were highly valued by Fijian chiefs. The engineering of the different elements forming a breastplate demonstrates the high level of skills involved in their making. In some cases, the ties are invisible at the front, and concealed by small ivory pegs at the back. In the 19th century, breastplates and necklaces were sometimes exchanged at large gatherings called solevu.

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