Tevau feather currency / bridal wealth
Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands
Hibiscus fiber, feathers (Myzomela cardinalis), shell
Early 20th century
Dimensions : 24 in. x 30 ¼ in. (61 x 77.5 cm)
Ex private collection, Australia
Once uncoiled, this money roll called tevau is roughly 30 ft. (9 meters) long. A multitude of rectangular plates covered with feathers are overlapped and affixed to a fiber armature. The feathers are those of the Myzomelia cardinalis, a scarlet bird that feeds on honey.
Feather money was used in Santa Cruz as a form of currency for settling important obligations. Tevau were also given as payment on the occasion of a wedding as bride price.