Désignation: Breastplates
Pays: Fiji Islands
Date: 19th century
Taille: 19 cm
Description: Breastplates made of mother of pearl with segments of sperm whale tooth attached, called civavonovono, or civanovonovo, were an important royal adornment worn by Fijian chiefs.

The raw materials used for the pectorals are significant. Plates are derived from Sperm Whale (physeter catodon) teeth and pieces of Black- lipped Pearl oyster (pinctada margaritifera) shell. Both were favorite materials for body ornaments in several Pacific island groups but here the two are brilliantly combined in a single artifact, the contrasting colour and patina having a powerful visual impact. Given their rarity, beauty and fine workmanship it is not surprising that these civavonovono have always been the nec plus ultra for any collector of tribal jewellery.

William Schulz, Washington State, USA Kirby Lewis-Wara, Seattle, USA Kenvin Conru, London
Adrienne L. Kaeppler. Polynesia - The Mark and Carolyn Blackburn Collection of Polynesian
Art, University of Hawaii Press, 2010.