Necklace of white shell and coconut shell, with six ivory pendants.
Place details: OCEANIA POLYNESIA. Tonga / Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Shell / Coconut Plant / Whale Tooth Animal / Plant Fibre / ?. Processes: Carved / Perforated / Strung / Knotted / Twisted / ?. Colour: White and brown Dimensions: L = 497 mm Field Collector: Johann Reinhold Forster and George Forster When Collected: Between 2 and 7 October 1773 or between 26 and 29 June 1774 Other Owners: Johann Reinhold Forster and George Forster; from late January 1776, Ashmolean Museum PRM Source: Ashmolean Museum Acquired: Transferred 19 April 1886 Other Numbers: Forster 98 Duncan 194
KEYWORD: Neck Ornament / CLASS: Ornament / ?.
Object description: Necklace of white shell and coconut shell, with six ivory pendants of varying shapes: a bird, a canine tooth, a flat oval, bead with three holes, a 'barbed arrow head' shape, and a bead with flared ends. [JFK 19/2/2009]
Publications history, trails & websites: Listed according to the 'Forster list' numbering system in 'From the Islands of the South Seas 1773–4: An Exhibition of a Collection Made on Capn. Cook's Second Voyage of Discovery by J. R. Forster—A Short Guide (Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, no date ): 'The Friendly Isles (Tonga)...98. Nine different kinds of necklaces; together with three mother of pearl shells which hang on the breast. The latter have not been traced. Materials of the eight surviving necklaces and overall lengths (from top to bottom of the exhibit): [A; 1886.1.1573:] human hair, white and pink shell, 64 cm.; [B; 1886.1.1571:] white shell and coconut shell, with six ivory pendants, 50 cm.; [C; 1886.1.1572:] white shell and coconut shell, with two canine teeth, 25 cm.; [D; 1886.1.1570:] white shell and coconut shell, 220 cm.; [E; 1886.1.1574:] dentalium shell, bone and brown shell, 76 cm.; [F; 1886.1.1576:] bird bone and brown shell, 115 cm.; [G; 1886.1.1569:] dentalium shell, 110 cm.; [G; 1886.1.1568:] dentalium shell and brown shell, 165 cm.' N.B. The missing ninth has now been identified as 1886.1.1575. [NMM 22 1 1997; JC 30 12 1999, 14 8 2015]
Reproduced in black and white as Plate 5b accompanying 'Eighteenth-Century Tonga: New Interpretations of Tongan Society and Material Culture at the Time of Captain Cook', by Adrienne L. Kaeppler, in Man, n.s., Vol. VI, no. 2 (June 1971), pp. 204-220; and discussed along with the other necklaces that make up Forster 98 on page 217: 'Tongan necklaces exist in Museum collections is a great variety of materials and styles.... The more usual types are found in the Pitt Rivers Museum. These consist of long strands of white and dark beads, sometimes in sections, and sometimes alternated, as well as necklaces employing several strands of bird bone. One of the specimens [1886.1.1571] has carved ivory pendants in various shapes - cylindrical beads, which have also been found in archaeological contexts; and an object that resembles the headf of a missile, which is also found on necklaces in Göttingen and Dublin. An ivory pendant in the form of a bird is found on this Pitt Rivers specimen, and similar birds are in Göttingen, Vienna, and in a drawing from Labillardière (1802: plate 32).' [JC 30 12 1999]
Listed under numbers 14 to 18 under ‘The Friendly Isles (Tonga)...Necklaces and Other Ornaments’ on page 210 of 'Artificial Curiosities': Being an Exposition of Native Manufactures Collected on the Three Pacific Voyages of Captain James Cook, R.N. at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, January 18, 1978 - August 31, 1978 on the Occasion of the Bicentennial of the European Discovery of the Hawaiian Islands by Captain Cook - January 18, 1778 (Bernice P. Bishop Museum Special Publication 65), by Adrienne L. Kaeppler (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1978): 'Five necklaces of shell, bird bone, coconut shell, ivory pendants, teeth, etc. Oxford (98). Evidence: Forster collection, second voyage. Literature: Gathercole, n.d. (1970) [see above]; Kaeppler, 1971, p. 217 [see above]'. [JC 24 5 2000]
Published as part of the Forster Collection on a dedicated website at www.prm.ox.ac.uk/forster (from February 2001). [JC 7 7 2005]
For an account of the history of the collection of which this is part, see 'The Cook-Voyage Collections at Oxford, 1772–1775', by Jeremy Coote, in Jeremy Coote (ed.), Cook-Voyage Collections of 'Artificial Curiosities' in Britain and Ireland, 1771–2015 (MEG Occasional Paper No. 5), Oxford: Museum Ethnographers Group (2015), pp. 74–122. (Copy in RDF: Researchers: Jeremy Coote (Cook-Voyage Collections).) [JC 9 6 2016]
Research notes: Of the nine necklaces grouped together as 'Forster 98', five have been positively identified by Adrienne Kaeppler as being from Tonga (1886.1.1570, 1886.1.1571, 1886.1.1572, 1886.1.1573, 1886.1.1576), three have been identified as being from New Zealand (1886.1.1568, 1886.1.1569, 1886.1.1574), and one (1886.1.1575) remains to be identified. (Samples of the fibre from 1886.1.1575 were taken and examined under the microscope. The fibre appears to be a nettle fibre, rather than New Zealand flax, suggesting that this necklace is from Tonga.) [JC 7 6 2001; JU 12/09/2012]