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Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology


Explore the hub for the Fiji Chiefs and Governors exhibition and research


Human-shaped figures and pendants of whale ivory strung on fine plaited coir cords. Probably presented to Lady Gordon, 1875 - 80, Fiji.

MAA Z 2752. Photography by Jos Dudding.


7 June 2013 - 19 April 2014

Li Ka Shing Gallery
This was the first ever exhibition dedicated to Fijian art outside of Fiji. It drew on MAA's exceptional collection of Fijian artefacts, photographs and archives, a collection closely linked to the early colonial history of Fiji and the foundation of the Museum.
Baron Anatole von Hügel, MAA's first curator, travelled within Fiji between 1874 and 1877, a period coinciding with Fiji's entry into the British Empire. Along with Sir Arthur Gordon (First Governor of Fiji) and Alfred Percival Maudslay (Sir Arthur's private secretary), Von Hügel assembled an impressive Fijian collection, including outstanding objects presented by Fijian and Tongan chiefs. This material formed the founding ethnographic collection of the Museum when it opened in 1884. The opening of this exhibition in June 2013 marked the centenary of the Museum moving to its current building on Downing Street.
Chiefs and Governors introduces important aspects of Fijian art and culture, and highlights key moments of Fijian pre-colonial and colonial history. Combining historical and contemporary objects and installations, Chiefs and Governors emphasises the dynamism and creativity of Fiji.

The exhibition was accompanied by a catalogue: Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji by Dr Anita Herle and Dr Lucie Carreau.

"A fascinating look at a particular moment in history and the burgeoning story of art history in the South Pacific" - The Independent, ★★★★☆. Read the review here.

Explore the virtual exhibition...

Explore the topics covered in the Chiefs and Governors exhibition and accompanying research by clicking here. Explore each topic in more detail by clicking through the links below.


Art and Power in Fiji

Sea of Islands










Chiefs & Governors

Baron von Hügel


Dufty's Photo Studio

Government House


Von Hügel and MAA

G.K. Roth

New Discoveries