[singlepic id=275 w=250 h=450 float=none]Tabua
This extraordinary tabua is composed of nine pieces of whale tooth suspended from a plaited coir cord. The hidden binding technique by which it was assembled was probably the work of expert Samoan-Tongan canoe-builders resident in Fiji. It was presented to John Thurston, who served in the governments led by Cakobau and Sir Arthur Gordon, and was Governor of Fiji from 1888-1897.
Naitasiri Province, Fiji. Presented by Ratu Peni Tanoa to Sir J. B. Thurston before 1897. 1936.380
Highly valued objects were presented by leading Fijian chiefs to British governors. Many of the outstanding objects on display in this case were presented to Governor Gordon, Lady Gordon and officials in the colonial government. These gifts mediated relationships and consolidated alliances. They also demonstrated the power and authority of the chiefs.