Tevau

oceania | Solomon Islands

Tevau

Solomon Islands

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

Tevau currency roll 61 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
These red-feather money rolls from the Santa Cruz Islands constitute one of the Pacific’s most spectacular and graphic forms of currency.
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.
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