[singlepic id=180 w=450 h=250 float=none]Yaqona bowl, Darivonu
Wooden bowl for yaqona in the shape of a turtle. The very naturalistic rendering of the spine gives the look and feel of a turtle’s shell, contrasting with the more schematic treatment of the head and limbs.
Possibly Viti Levu, Fiji. Collected by A. von Hügel, 1875-77. Z 3459
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.