|Current Location:||Collections storage|
|Credit Line:||Purchased from W. O. Oldman; Subscription of Herbert L. Clark in memory of Edward W. Clark, 1911|
|Other Number||11789 - Oldman Number|
Sperm Whale tooth with thick-walled oval opening at root end with one pierced hole. One pierced hole at tip with twisted plant fiber. Polished, possibly oiled giving it a "light honey" color.
On back of original catalogue card it reads:
Of the cachalot of sperm whale. The teeth were broken out of the lower jaw of whales cast up on the reefs. They were highly prized in FIJI and the stock was supplemented by imports from Tonga. They became the property of the chiefs only. A whale's tooth could buy a large canoe or pay the fine for manslaughter; it was a passport on the 'spirit path' to the other world and a safe-conduct for a chief's messenger in this. Whale's teeth formed part of the bride price. Collars made from whole teeth or from teeth split and polished were worn by chiefs.
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