Image: Knife, Tuvalu H359

Knife, Tuvalu H359

Provenance: Tuvalu, Polynesia, Pacific

This wooden knife, possibly made in Tuvalu, is finished with shark's teeth bound along both edges. A wide range of long and short hand weapons featuring shark-tooth blades have been made in south-east Pacific islands for centuries. The knife is supposed to have been collected by Captain Cook on his first Pacific voyage, although he didn't visit Tuvalu. The New South Wales Government donated it to the Museum in 1895.

Description: Short, brown wooden sword with shark teeth; teeth inlaid in groove on sides of blade and tied onto blade with natural fibre string through holes in both sides; 10 teeth one side, 14 the other, two missing; blade point broken; 1.5cm leaf binding around base of blade; handle smooth and oval-shape in cross section.

Length: 26cm; Width: 4cm

Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

Last Updated: