Fiji Split Whale Tooth Ivory Necklace wasekaseka
Two old Sisi sections. 19thCentury
These two beautiful old sections of rare split whale tooth ivory are from the impressive wasekaseka – necklaces Sisi fashioned from tabua, which have been cut and polished into tusk-like ornaments then strung together with magimagi, or sinnet fibre. Wasekaseka became more common after European contact, with the increased trade in whale ivory and availability of iron tools. Necklaces such as this were amongst the most valuable of ornaments and were used as presentations to chiefs in securing their help in war and in domestic pursuits. Whale were not hunted in Fiji before European contact, though they were sometimes stranded on the shore. So until the early nineteenth century, whale ivory was only available in small quantities, and used by influential, high-status individuals. In the early 1800s when whale teeth became more available, they were used more frequently in ornaments and necklaces, though such necklaces in this renowned Fijian art form were never common. Superb rare examples of type.
Deep rich warm aged handled rubbed patina.
Length: 11 cm (4.25 inches)