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Nose flute fangufangu Oz 407

Nose flute fangufangu

Place: Tonga
Category: Music & play

bamboo, Tonga, l. 52 cm, d. 3.5 cm, Inv. Oz 407

Forster Register B.14: ‘2 long flutes und 2 panpipes’

The bamboo nose flute is closed at both ends due to the nodes in the stem used. There are six holes: three are in a row, one at each end, and the other in the middle. A fourth hole is located directly across from the latter. The fifth and sixth holes are arranged in different rows. Lengthwise, they are located between the middle and the end of the flute, each of them facing a different side. A representation of a hen, c. 1.7 cm long, is branded into the flute.

Cook (in Beaglehole 1961, II: 273) described the nose flutes as follows: ‘ ... a kind of flute made of Bamboo with four holes on which they play Notes, they blow into it through one Nostrel ...’ According to Forster (1989, I: 363), the nose flutes had four or five holes and were often decorated with branded figures. Tongan nose flutes can be distinguished from Tahitian ones because they have two, instead of one, closed ends due to the natural nodes in the bamboo (Kaeppler 1978a: 230). ‘Four pitches are used which vary slightly from flute to flute ... ‘ (Kaeppler 1978a: 230). The nose flute ‘was used alone or to accompany a certain class of rather quietly reflective songs ...’ (Ferdon 1987: 196). Kaeppler (1971: 217) stated that the sound of the nose flutes was used to waken the high ‘chiefs’. Inken Köhler, Ulrike Rehr, Gundolf Krüger


Beaglehole, John Cawte, The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery. The Voyage of the Resolution and Adventure 1772-1775, Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 35, vol. 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1955-1961 II.

Ferdon, Edwin N, Early Tonga, As the Explorers Saw It, Tucson, 1987.

Forster, Georg, Reise um die Welt, 2 Teile, in Georg Steiner (ed.), Georg Forsters Werke (2 und 3), Sämtliche Schriften, Tagebücher, Briefe, herausgegeben von der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin, [1777] 1989.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L, ‘Eighteenth century Tonga: new interpretations of Tongan society and material culture at the time of Captain Cook’, Man, 1971, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 204-220, plates 1-6.

Kaeppler, Adrienne L, ‘Artificial Curiosities’ Being An Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook RN [Exhibition catalogue], Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, 1978a.