- Museum number
Wood bowl carved as a shallow figure with a head in high relief. Extensions to the heels and a lug at the back of the head used for a suspension cord when not in use.
- Production date
- 19thC(early) (Before 1841)
Length: 26.70 centimetres
Width: 14 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From B&M Extracts Register "Colombia River"; from Slip "Columbia River".
Bowls carved as a shallow figure ('daveniyaqona') are rare and were used for priestly burau kava drinking rites. This example has extensions to the heels which balance the bowl when it is placed flat; a lug at the back of the head is for a suspension cord when not in use.
Similar examples, and the burau method of use, are discussed in detail by Clunie (Clunie, F.,1986, 'Yalo i Viti. Shades of Fiji: a Fiji Museum catalogue,' Suva: Fiji Museum: 168-9; Clunie, F., 1996, 'Daveniyaqona: a sacred yaqona dish from Fiji,' Art Tribal, 3-18.
Information from Pacific Art in Detail: During the 'burau' drinking rite, the dish was lying on the floor of a spirit house, filled with 'yagona' (called 'kava' in other parts of the Pacific), a peppery narcotic drink. A priest would sip through a straw while possessed by his ancestor spirit. The fact that, at this occasion, the priest is 'tapu' (taboo) and must avoid to touch the food and drinks explains the use of a straw.
This dish was certainly carved before the introduction of iron.
Fijians stopped the 'burau' rite after adopting christianity. The 'yagona' is now served at ceremonial and social events out of a deep circular, multi-legged bowl. This public style of drinking spread to Fiji from Tonga in the late 1800s.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2016-2017 15 Oct-25 Feb, Norwich, UEA, Sainsbury centre, Fiji: Art and life in the Pacific
2008 16 Jun-14 Sep, Paris, Musée du quai Branly, Pacific Encounters
2006 21 May-13 Aug, Norwich, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Pacific Encounters
2019-2021 15 Dec-2 May, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Fiji: Art & Life in the Pacific
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Collected in 1841 by Edward Belcher during the voyage of HMS Sulphur.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number