World Cultures, Pacific

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World Cultures

Object connections:

Collection World Cultures, Pacific
User collections Captain Cook's Third Voyage by NMMCollections
Collectables (All) by blueheatwave
Collectables (Australasia / Oceania) by blueheatwave
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleProvenance: Cook, James
EventsExploration: Cook's Third Voyage, 1776

Object details:

Object ID AAA2833
Description Tongan fue ('fly whisk') made either from re-using an altered spear point, or carving the handle to resemble one. The coconut fibre strands are bound onto the point. After British arrival, and the introduction of horses, later fue began to use horsehair instead of traditional coconut. Such objects were marks of high status in Tonga, and particularly associated with orators and royalty. Whisks protected royal food and moved away harmful spirits. The spear point may by Fijian, showing trade and interaction between different Pacific island societies. Spears that had done injury in battle were usually consecrated. This may be such a spear, and therefore have had a priestly owner. This fue is said to have been brought back from Captain James Cook's 3rd voyage by Lieutenant James Ward, a nice example of collecting for curiosity or sale by an ordinary member of the crew. The museum has a painted portrait of Ward attributed to the voyage artist John Webber (BHC3077). The Resolution and Discovery visited Tonga between 18 April and 17 July 1777. It was formerly attributed to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).
Date made before 1777

Place made Tonga
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials fibre, coconut husk; wood
Measurements Overall: 435 x 100 x 40 mm
  • Fue (AAA2833)
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