[singlepic id=207 w=250 h=450 float=none]Presentation whale tooth, Tabua
Tabua continue to be the most important of all Fijian valuables. The tooth is modified by sanding, worked into a crescent shape, and smoked and oiled to produce a rich red colour. Whale teeth were used to make a variety of high-status ornaments. Strung on a cord of coir and pandanus leaf strips.
Fiji. Collected by A. von Hügel, 1875-77. Z 3026
Increased access to sperm whale ivory in the early 19th century resulted in a proliferation of high-status ornaments associated with chiefs. They demonstrate the power of chiefs to obtain highly valued materials and control the production of specialist craftsmen.