Fish hook, (makau) of bone and fibre. Ex. Vancouver voyage 1790-95.
Hawaiian fishhooks (makau) have different sizes and shapes depending on the fishing method and the type of fish to be caught. There are simple and composite hooks and materials used for fishing hooks in Hawaii are: bone (human and whale), shell (turtle shell, pearl shell), whale ivory and wood. Bone, both human and whale, hooks were much in request and human bone (usually from the thigh bone) was valued because it contains the mana (power) of the deceased. For more information on fish hooks in the Pacific, see Beasley (2007) and Buck (1964). While it is stated in the Exeter files that this is human bone, it is hard to tell without testing. Human long bones were cut in lengths most probably with stone flakes. The edges were smoothed off with coral rasps. Holes were drilled in order to facilitate the cutting out of the inner bend. According to Buck (1964, VII: 325) ‘Hawaiians believed that fishhooks made from the bones of people without hair on their bodies, who were termed ’olohe, were more attractive to fish than hooks from normal bones’.