Presentation tooth

Tabua (pronounced tambua) consist of a polished and smoked sperm whale tooth attached to a cord of coconut fibre. They were and are traditionally used as presentation gifts at weddings and funerals and other important occasions, including exchanges between chiefs for strategic purposes. In the early 19th century European traders quickly realised the local value of whale teeth and imported them in large numbers.

Object Summary

Museum Number 7/1983/12a
Simple Name gift
Full Name tabua
Common Name presentation tooth
Production country Fiji
Material whale tooth; plaited fibre
Collection class Religion and magic
Collection continent Pacific
Collection area/region POLYN
Production continent Oceania
Production date 19th century
Production year high 1983
Function name ritual presentation