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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/506

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

a hoop, and, by constantly exerting a pressure, tended to enlarge the hole. A boy, whose photograph I took at Rubiana, had the hole in his ears enlarged to a diameter of at least four inches. They are excessively fond of and prize highly armlets made from the shell of the giant clam (Tridacna gigas). A native chief, whom I saw at Santa Anna with a remarkably fine pair, told me he had given a boy for each. At Guadalcanar, Rubiana, and to the westward they take rather the form of bangles, and as many as eight or ten are frequently worn on each arm. Large crescents cut out of pearl-shell are frequently worn round the neck, and, especially on Malayta, frontlets of a white cowry. Perhaps, however, the ornament most highly prized is a necklace of dogs' teeth. A good necklace will consist of five hundred teeth, each one being carefully bored and mounted with great ingenuity. As only two teeth are available from each dog, it would require two hundred and fifty dogs to make a necklace such as I refer to. On San Cristoval, where most of the dogs' teeth come from, I am told that they extract the teeth from live dogs, burying them up to the neck in the ground for the purpose. Porpoise teeth, cuscus teeth, and the teeth of the flying fox are also used, but are not so highly valued as dogs' teeth.

The natives of Rubiana and New Georgia also wear a neck ornament known by them as a buckea. This is a ring cut from the solid shell of the Tridacna gigas, and suspended round the neck by a sort of plaited red straw. The buckea is more highly prized if it possesses a peculiar yellow stain, and I am told that the best are made from shells that are found as fossils in the bush in regions of coral upheaval.

I must not forget to mention the strings of bead-money, generally about a fathom in length, which are made from shells at the expense of great labor. It is of two kinds, red and white, the red being more highly prized by them.

Their weapons are bows and arrows, spears, clubs, tomahawks, and defensive shields. But, while the natives of San Cristoval and Malayta use the arrow, spear, and tomahawk, I never saw on Guadalcanar any arrows or bows except those used for bird-shooting. At Rubiana and New Georgia also arrows are not used, the tomahawk and spear being preferred. But it is on Bougainville that the finest specimens of arrows and spears are found. In fact, the latter, barbed with the wing-bones of the flying fox, are eagerly sought after and bought by the natives of the more eastern islands, the Alu natives paying two or three visits a year to Bougainville for the purpose of buying spears, arrows, baskets, and other things in the manufacture of which the Bougainville natives excel.

Perhaps the thing that most strikes a stranger visiting the