A Superb Fijian Chief’s Whales Tooth Necklace Polynesia 19th Century
|Size||28 x 30 cm (size of the individual whales’ teeth 6cm to 9cm )|
This superb 19th Century Fijian Whales Tooth Necklace was once worn by persons of high social status, chiefly families. No whales were ever harmed as the teeth were collected from beached whales that died of natural causes, whales were never hunted or killed in Polynesia.
The term tabua refers to a “presentation whale tooth which is the greatest of all Fijian valuables but when put into a necklace of graduated size teeth as this example it becomes a Chiefly or kavakaturanga Sacred Object. Whale Teeth in Fiji are closely associated with divine power and with chiefs as embodiments of divine ancestors.
Whales Teeth were presented at important ceremonies, including weddings, births, and funerals. Tabua used to be the most effective way to give weight to an apology or pledge allegiance. The occasion where tabua were presented also determines their spiritual value.
Size: 28 x 30 cm (size of the individual whales’ teeth 6cm to 9cm )
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art