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Carved plate of whale bone with serrated edges. This breastplate was repeatedly rubbed with coconut oil and smoked, resulting in the rich dark colour particularly visible at the back.
Levuka, Fiji. Acquired by A. von Hügel from the ‘Cheat’, 27 October 1875. Z 2747
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.