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Ornamental disc teunga kahoa

Ornamental disc teunga kahoa

Place: Tonga
Category: Jewellery & adornment

mussel shell, plant fibre, Tonga, d. 15.5 cm, Inv. Oz 165a

Humphrey No. 101: ‘Another [breast ornament], the Shell differently coloured, from ditto [Friendly Isles].’

The piece is the chalk shell of a mussel. The outermost side has been sanded and polished. The resulting mother-of-pearl shell is silver in the middle of both sides, while shimmering red and green at the edge. This shell has been perforated twice. The remains of a twisted cord can be seen at both perforations.

Forster remarked on the use of such a piece (1989, I: 346f): ‘For decoration, the men used a mother-of-pearl shell, which was affixed to the neck with a cord, and hung down upon the breast.’ And Anderson (in: Beaglehole 1967, lllb: 931): ‘In the same manner [as necklace] they often wear a mother of pearl shell neatly polished...’

Two longer necklaces may be found in Vienna, each with a mother-of-pearl shell similar to that of Oz 165a and used as a pendant (Moschner 1955: 207; Kaeppler 1978a: 209). 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 Discovery 1776-1780, Hakluyt Society, Extra Series, 36, 1 u. 2. vol. 3, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1955-1967 IIIa and IIIb.

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, ‘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.

Moschner, Irmgard, ‘Die Wiener Cook-Sammlung, Südsee-Teil’, Archiv für Völkerkunde, Vienna and Stuttgart, 1955, vol. 10, pp. 136-253.

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