tabua (whale tooth)


Tabua are single whale teeth (pronounced tambua), which are usually attached to a cord of coconut fibre called coir. Tabua are used as presentation gifts at weddings, funeral and other important occasions. Acquired by chiefs from European traders in the early 19th century, they became highly important in strategic and dynastic exchanges. Such activities increased the chief’s power and influence.
Tabua also acted as shrines and ivory items were normally crafted by Tongan or Samoan craftsmen working the service of Fijian chiefs.

This object is not on display.

More like this

Leave a comment

Subject to approval, your name and blog comment will be made public. Any comment replies will also be public. Your email address will never be published. If you wish to contact us privately, please use the Contact form.

Leave a comment