The Fiji Museum - Virtual Museum


Sail needles made from the shin bones of cannibalised enemies. Needles carved from the shins of cooked and eaten enemy bodies were used in the maritime chiefdoms for sewing together the various sections of pandanus mat canoe sails. These needles are almost certainly the human bone needles given to the Methodist missionary and surgeon Rev. R.B. Lyth by John Turaga, a Levuka sailor of Lakeba in the late 1840s. The Levuka people of Lau were a seafaring tribe, once resident on Bau, who fled to Lakeba in the 1700s.

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