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Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl

( ID: ka893 )

A beautiful yaqona bowl in the shape of a human being this example is beautifully carved from vesi wood and likely dates to the early 20th C.  A fine large example at 16" in length.

~~Bowls carved as a shallow figure are rare and were used for priestly burau kava drinking rites. ~~

Yaqona drinking was an ancient custom when the first Europeans arrived, and its use today is still an accurate reflection of their observations. Basil Thomson, a 19th-century ethnologist, said:

The chief’s yaqona circle supplied the want of newspapers; the news and gossip of the day were related and discussed; the chief’s advisers seized upon the convivial moment to make known their view; matters of policy were decided; the chief’s will, gathered from a few careless words spoken while drinking, was carried by mouth throughout his dominions.

Legend has it that yaqona was derived from the Fijian god Degei (whose name means `from heaven to the soil and through the earth’), who asked his three sons where they wanted to live and what they wanted to do with their lives. They replied with where they wanted to dwell and what they thought their tasks should be. Degei was pleased but told his sons that although they had power and strength, they lacked the wisdom to make decisions. He gave them two sacred crops, yaqona and vuga (a type of tree) from which to draw wisdom. The sons in turn gave them to the people and to this day, goes the legend, the crops grow where the Fijian descendants live.

Photo #1 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #2 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #3 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #4 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #5 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #6 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #7 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #8 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #9 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #10 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl
Photo #11 of Fijian South Seas Oceanic Rare late 19th C.- early 20th C. Yaqona kava priest's bowl