[singlepic id=182 w=450 h=250 float=none]Water pot, Saqa
Earthenware water pot in the shape of a turtle. At the top, the surface is incised with grooves and imprinted with the edge of a bivalve shell, evoking the texture and patterns of turtle shell.
Fiji. Collected by A. von Hügel, 1875-77. Z 3541
Turtles were central to many spiritual and social practices, featuring prominently in feasts associated with large gatherings (solevu). Rights to catch and consume turtles were determined by hereditary privileges and links with ancestral spirits. Turtle shell was considered a valuable material but was usually traded with Tonga rather than incorporated into Fijian objects.