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Fiji, 19th century
A Fijian sperm whale tooth with good patination. These teeth were used as presentation gifts in weddings, funerals and other important occasions. The tip of the tooth is pierced for a handmade coir cord to suspend it. These teeth became highly important in strategic and dynastic exchanges, by which chiefs would increase their symbols of power and influence.
Inscribed “Inoke Nasea”, ie ENOCH of Nasea village, Fiji
Height14.00cm (5.51 inches)
Provenance: Collected by the American adventurer John Young in the 1870’s.
Then Leo Fortess collection – Hawai’i