- Museum number
Sea spirit wooden figure with fish attributes and with collar of white feathers.
- Production date
- 19thC (before 1893)
Height: 72 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Register slip reads: Door ornament. San Cristoval
According to Walter Ivens (1927:200-203), in Sa'a and Ulawa such figures represent dangerous sea spirits and were made for the gable of a canoe-house or chief's house to guard against malevolent intruders.
Information from Pacific Art in Detail: Sea spirits were once part of the dangers that the fishermen in Solomon Islands confronted. These wild spirits were travelling on rainbows and capable of 'shooting ' fish to people as arrows. Fishermen would keep on the alert for rainbows in sun showers and waterspouts - both signs of the sea spirits presence.
The figures were given offerings such as almonds, taro and flying-fox teeth to win favour and success in catching the much-prized bonito fish.
This figure is carved with a head incorporating a large fish, the figure also has hands and feet like garfish tails.
- On display (G24/dc3)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Register slip reads:
Purchased 21 June 1904 [Admr. Davis] per Gerrard
Collected by Adm. Davis during the cruise of HMS Royalist 1890-3.
Davis published his collection of 700 items made as captain of the Royalist in a LIST OF ETHNOGRAPHICAL OBJECTS (BM library shelfmark: MUS/26b-9-6), which bears the handwritten note "BM had first pick - part purchased by Umlauff. Hamburg". Edward Gerrard sold the collection on his behalf.
Collected on Admiral Davis' second voyage on the HMS Royalist to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, specifically between 3rd June 1891 and 25th August 1891.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number