Image: Tabua, Fiji (E065332)

Tabua, Fiji (E065332)

Tabua, Fiji
Acquired 15 September 1972

This tabua is fashioned from walrus-tusk ivory, rather than the tooth of a sperm whale. Nineteenth-century European traders gradually became aware of the social and cultural significance that Fijians placed on the tabua, and supplied Fijians with tabua made from walrus tusks instead of whales teeth. The size of a tabua determined its value, so an object such as this, while ‘fake’, was still seen as desirable.

Finton Mahony
© Australian Museum

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