Fijian Chief's ‘Yaqona’ or Kava Bowl

Fijian Chief's ‘Yaqona’ or Kava Bowl

1800 to 1900 Fiji

Offered by Finch & Co

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A Good Fijian Chief's ‘Yaqona’ or Kava Bowl
Carved of vesi wood with traces of old residue deposits
19th Century

Size: 10cm high, 31cm dia. – 4 ins high, 12¼ ins dia
Provenance: Collected by Albert Hampton-Smith (1844 – 1920), a ship’s carpenter who acquired this bowl, which by family tradition is believed to have been the personal Kava bowl of a Fijian chief, in exchange for some carpentry tools and for teaching his woodworking skills to the local people.
Thence by descent.
Kava is a ritual drink made from an infusion of grated, chewed or pounded dried roots of Piper Methysticum, a species of pepper plant. It is a preparation drunk on many Pacific Islands and the drinking of Yaqona as it is called on Fiji continues to be one of the most significant ceremonies performed in Fijian society.
The wooden bowls are called ‘Tanoa’ and the older ones, such as this example, are thin walled with a shallow bowl and a carved lip that flares outward in a graceful curve.
Medium
Wood
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