FIJI, tambua (sperm whale tooth), 145x55mm with ~500mm braided old fiber cord attached.  This thing is about 100 years old.  A lot of old smoky color and hand polish on the tooth, cord is frayed in spots, $950.00 sold 11/21/2008
Click picture for enlargements.

    Fiji was part of the Polynesian culture complex, in which gifting and obligation were practiced instead of monetary economics.  There was a hierarchy of values for things.  The tambua was pretty much at the top.  To go higher involved things like slavery and human sacrifice.  You can see a tambua on the current Fiji 20 cents coins.  They are very rare, highly prized, specimens currently in Fiji are prohibited from export.  I think this is the only one on the web.
 
 




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Bob Reis
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