Exceptional and Extraordinarily Large and Heavy Old Fijian Tabua

Exceptional and Extraordinarily Large and Heavy Old Fijian Tabua

1700 to 1900 Fijian

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An Exceptional and Extraordinarily Large and Heavy Old Fijian Tabua
Western Polynesia
Used as a commemorate presentation gift to celebrate a 50 year anniversary inscribed: ‘Fiji October 10th 1874 to 1924’ and with the motto ‘Rere Vaka Nakalou Ka Doka Na Tui’.
The tooth late 18th / early 19th Century

Size: 24.5cm wide, 8.5cm high, 6cm deep – 9¾ ins wide, 3¼ ins high, 2¼ deep
Weight: 1245 grams – (2.11 lb’s)
‘Fiji October 10th 1874 to 1924’ and with the motto ‘Rere Vaka Nakalou Ka Doka Na Tui’
The sperm whale tooth or ‘tabua’ had a profound mystical and symbolic significance to the Fijian and was only used for presentations of great importance. Both large and small, polished and unpolished teeth were used in various ways, but the purely ceremonial form were much larger and were carefully polished and anointed with coconut oil and turmeric to darken their colour. Sometimes larger teeth such as this could act as shrines for Fijian deities.
Drilled at both ends for attaching sinnet cord this old tabua was probably of sufficient size and importance for it to be reassigned for use as a presentation gift in the early 20th century.
Medium
Whale Tooth
Finch & Co

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