Mr Smith Collection, Fiji, late 19th century



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Mr Smith donated a collection of largely Fijian objects to the Australian Museum in 1889. The collection is comprised of both everyday and ornamental objects representative of Fijian life at the end of the nineteenth century.

In 1889, Mr Smith donated 34 artefacts to the Australian Museum, with all but one artefact originating from Fiji. The collection donated by Mr Smith consists of a wide range of everyday objects as well as more ornamental pieces. Objects include bark cloths, a canoe model, mats, a dress, tobacco and equipment (a plate, pots, a comb, kava strainers and baskets). Ornaments for the neck and head include ten locks of human hair to be worn on the side of the head, a boars tusk ornament, and a sperm whale tooth neck ornament worn by chiefs.

The collection also includes three fans, or ilri, which were very common objects in Fiji, being used as an accessory or in dances. One of the fans is made from woven palm leaf, with decorative dark brown bands of leaf woven through the pale brown background to create a contrasting pattern, and a handle covered in a red-brown plaited cord.


Bark cloths; Indigenous artefacts; Late 19th century

Baskets; Domestic equipment; Floor mats; Tapas cloths

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2012-05-30 23:43

2011-04-19 14:02