Page:The Melanesians Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore.djvu/338

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Arts of Life.

in the Banks' Islands, where the cream squeezed out from grated cocoa-nut was often cooked over the embers in the shells. The bowls of the south-eastern Solomon Islands, remarkable some of them for their enormous size, some for their fantastic shape, all for their really beautiful ornamentation, represent stone-boiling in purpose if not often in use. The oval wooden bowls, wumeto, of the Banks' Islands sometimes stand on legs. The pestles in very active use there for making mash, lot, in the broad wooden dishes are wooden, sometimes ornamented with the figure of a bird at the upper end, an almost solitary instance of carved figure ornament on the implements of those people. It need hardly be said that all Melanesian people are mat-makers; the remarkable thing is that in Santa Cruz alone is found a loom with which beautiful mats are woven with the fibre of a banana cultivated for the purpose; these looms are identical with those in use in the Caroline and Philippine Islands and in Borneo.

(6) Fishing. A large part of the subsistence of Melanesians is generally and naturally derived from the sea, though the character of the shore modifies the extent of fishing industry. Something to eat with vegetable food is always looked for; and shell-fish, octopus, and such things from the reefs are in daily request. Fish are caught by angling from the shore or from canoes, by nets, by shooting or spearing, in woven pots, by poison, and with the use of torches at night. Hooks, now generally superseded, were most commonly made of tortoise-shell; in the Solomon Islands the hook common in the Pacific was beautifully made; a piece of mother-of-pearl, with or without a wooden back, with a tortoise-shell hook lashed to it, and a few beads on a short string, requiring no bait. The very small fish-hooks of mother-of-pearl and tortoise-shell, of either material alone, or of some shell which might imitate a bettle, at Savo, San Cristoval, Ulawa, were among the prettiest and most skilful products of native handiwork. The flying-fish is caught not with a hook, but with a double prickle of tortoise-shell, or spines from palms.