Image: Tabua, Fiji (E021125)

Tabua, Fiji (E021125)

Tabua, Fiji
Acquired 04 September 1912

The tabua is the most valuable and prized of all traditional Fijian objects. Tabua are the teeth from sperm whales that are beached throughout the Fijian Islands. A tabua is fashioned by rubbing down the natural grooves of the whale’s tooth until smooth, and then polishing this with a mixture of coconut oil and turmeric. Small holes are place through both ends of the tooth, through which a cord woven from coconut fibre or pandanus palm leaf is threaded.

Finton Mahony
© Australian Museum

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