Tabua

Description
This is a tooth of the sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus), which is usually attached to a cord of coconut fibre rope. 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 under the service of Fijian chiefs.
Accession Loan No.
29/1950/13
Collection Class
Religion and magic
Common Name
tabua
Simple Name
whale tooth
Full Name
whale tooth (tabua)
Dimensions
whole length 133 mm; whole width 45 mm
Production Year High
1950
Production Country
Fiji
Production Area Region
Melanesia
Production Continent
Oceania
Family Group

Material
whale tooth
Function Name
ritual presentation
Collection Area Region
POLYN
Collection Continent
Pacific

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