Fijian Sperm Whale Tooth Chief’s Breast Pendant ‘Tabua’
Fijian Sperm Whale Tooth Chief’s Breast Pendant ‘Tabua’

Fijian Sperm Whale Tooth Chief’s Breast Pendant ‘Tabua’

1800 to 1900 Fiji

Offered by Finch & Co

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A Large Fijian Sperm Whale Tooth Chief’s Breast Pendant ‘Tabua’
Old worn suspension holes for sinnet cord
Early 19th Century

Size: 19cm wide – 7½ ins wide
Provenance: Ex Private Northern Irish collection
See Finch & Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 133, and catalogue no. 9, item no’s 9 and 10 for other examples
Tabua were of great ceremonial significance on the islands of Fiji where they were used as important presentation objects during dynastic exchanges at large clan gatherings held for weddings and funerals. Prior to 1800 whale ivory artefacts were the most valuable form of property on Fiji, but as the European and American 19th century whaling ships began to hunt and work regularly in the South Seas the great sperm whale teeth became more readily available. Together with iron, the teeth would be used as merchandise to barter for Fijian sandalwood and bêche de mer.

Medium
Whaletooth
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