The Melanesians: Studies in their Anthropology and Folklore/Chapter 16
ARTS OF LIFE.
The foregoing chapters have been, mainly at least, concerned with subjects to deal with which such knowledge of the thoughts and ways of Melanesian people as can only be gained by personal acquaintance with them, and familiarity with their language, is most required. The present chapter will contain notices of such matters as lie much more upon the surface of native life, and are open to the observation of the visitor and traveller; the arts, namely, in which the culture of the people expresses itself, by which they build and decorate canoes and houses, plant and cultivate their gardens, furnish themselves with weapons and implements for war and work, catch fish, prepare their food, furnish themselves with clothing and ornaments, make and use money as a medium of exchange. So long a catalogue of their arts of life shews that Melanesians do not take a very low place among the backward peoples of the world. To deal fully and adequately with these matters would require much space; it is the less necessary to do so since much information has been already made public, as by Dr. Guppy for example, concerning the Solomon Islands; but there is certainly room for additions, and even in these matters there is much value in what natives say about themselves.
(1) Canoes. The inhabitants of groups of islands are likely to be seafaring people, and canoes are naturally among the first objects that present themselves to a visitor. Hardly anything seems in my remembrance to have been more striking than the difference between the canoes of the natives when for the first time we passed from the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands to the Solomon Islands, and exchanged the clumsy outriggered tree-trunks of the Eastern groups for the elegant forms and brilliant ornaments of the plank-built craft of the West. But upon consideration, the outrigger canoe that sails must be thought to take a higher rank than
one propelled by paddles only; and certainly the outrigger canoe is the one characteristic of Melanesia. It is only in the Solomon Islands that plank-built canoes are seen; but there also small canoes with outriggers are used, and these are in fact the same with those of Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands and the New Hebrides; all alike are hollowed trunks of trees with outriggers. Double canoes are nowhere seen in these islands as in Fiji; but the aka, angga, wangga, of the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides, is doubtless the same thing with the wangga of Fiji. The large sailing canoes, which in the New Hebrides will carry forty men, are also single trunks dug out and shaped for the hull, with sides built up and decks laid with planks tied on with sinnet. Before the time when the labour trade made the natives afraid to move about, and 'recruiting' meant destruction of canoes for the capture of their crews, red 'butterfly' sails were the common and pleasing ornament of an island scene in the New Hebrides and Banks' groups.
To take the example of a Mota aka. The sail, epa, was formed of mats, woven by women, and sewn together by men with needles of tree-fern wood, or the bone of a ray's sting. The mast, turgae, with a forked butt, was stepped upon the midmost of the three yoke-pieces, iwatia, which connected the outrigger, sama, with the hull. The yoke-pieces were fastened to the outrigger by being lashed to wooden pegs fixed into it. Upon the foot of the mast was stepped again the forked end of a boom, panei; both were stayed with ropes, tali, and in the triangular space between the mast and boom was spread the sail, lashed to both, and sinking in a graceful curve between the two. A large paddle for steering, turwose, was tied to a horn, tiqa-taso, at the stern. The whole safety of the vessel depended on the strength and elasticity of the attachment of the outrigger to the hull. In former times the work of shaping the body of the canoe and adzing out the planks with which the sides were raised was done with shell adzes; and the holes for the lashings were bored with the columella of a volute shell. A large canoe was owned in common by several men, or by one very important person; money was paid for hire and freight. All canoes of any size
had names; when a new canoe came for the first time to land away from home the crew was pelted in a friendly way.
The Santa Cruz canoes, of better workmanship and form, are substantially the same as these; the large sea-going canoes, loju, carry a large stage on either side above a very narrow hull, and have a house upon one of them for the crew. In these canoes, with the large sail rising into curved horns, they make long voyages to Vanikoro and other islands that they know, steering by the stars. The Solomon Island plank-built canoe has probably not been developed in ignorance of the outrigger. In the straits between long islands like Malanta and Guadalcanar the natives have prided themselves on the skill with which they build and paddle their canoes. Ulawa was once a famous centre of manufacture and of sale. Canoes from Saa would make a six days' voyage for trade and pleasure, to Owa, Santa Anna and Santa Catalina, in one direction, steering by the stars at night, and to Alite in the other. Large canoes again cross from Alite to Guadalcanar to exchange money and ornaments for food, and as they return heavily laden throw out floats of dry cocoa-nuts at night, to rest and sleep. The moon in her second quarter lying on her back is called in Florida a 'canoe of Mala.' A very graceful little catamaran is used within the reefs of San Cristoval; five or six stems of the fronds of the sago-palm lashed together, the tips of them brought back by lines towards the butts, and the end of the high curved prow so formed decorated with a crimson streamer. A war canoe of the first rate is a long while in building; for three successive years I had the opportunity of seeing one at Ha'ani, from the bea set up to gain funds when the work began to the last ornamentation with shell carvings and streamers. Such a canoe forty-five feet long would carry ninety men. The form of a Florida peko is more graceful than that of the Ulawa build; the large one in Takua's great kiala at Boli was sixty feet long by six feet wide, and the stem and stern turned up to the height of fifteen feet. These canoes are all constructed of planks adzed out so as to leave cleats by which they are lashed to curved rib-pieces of mangrove wood, which give the necessary stiffness to the vessel; the edges of the planks being sewn together with sinnet, and the seam
covered with cement. In a war canoe a rest for spears and other weapons is set up amidships, and various tindalo charms are fixed and hung on to the stem to secure quiet seas and a favourable result to expeditions. Canoes of importance in these islands also have names, and festivities follow their
completion; one made at Olevuga was named Biku, after a relation of the owner; it would carry thirty paddlers and as many sitters; when it was cemented with tita, a hundred pigs were killed for the feast. Such a canoe required a life for its inauguration.
In the Eastern Solomon Islands, if no victim was met with in the first voyage of a new canoe, the chief to whom the canoe belonged would privately arrange with some neighbouring chief to let him have one of his men, some friendless man probably, or a stranger, who would then be killed, perhaps as he went out to look at the new canoe. It was thought a kind thing to come behind and strike him without warning. Further west also captives were kept with a view to the taking of their heads when new canoes were launched.
It is remarkable that while the paddles used in the Eastern Solomon Islands as far as Florida are pointed, some very narrow and pointed indeed, those used in Ysabel have an obtusely pointed, short, and broad blade with a comparatively long shaft, the latter having a crescent-shaped handle, and the former a crutch, for the upper hand. The paddles of the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides are comparatively shapeless and heavy.
A custom common to the Solomon Islands and the Eastern groups is that of taking a new canoe about to show it with a large party who receive presents wherever they visit. A great deal of trading is carried on between the various islands of each group; in two places the people live by commerce and manufactures. Rowa, one of the Banks' group, has but a tiny population on one of the islets of its reef. They still mainly obtain their food from Saddle Island and Vanua Lava, carrying over in exchange fish and the money that they make at home. Not many years ago it was believed that if food were grown at Rowa there would be a famine in Vanua Lava, and also that if a sow were taken there it would devour the people; but the Christian teacher of the place, himself a Rowa man. has boldly met both dangers. The other seat of commerce is on the Alite islets close to the Malanta coast near Florida, the inhabitants of which are enemies to their neighbours of the mainland, and have no gardens there; they buy their chief subsistence from Guadalcanar with the money and the ornaments that they make.
(2) Houses. The typical Melanesian house requires very little description; a roof of bamboos bent over a ridge-pole, which is supported by two main posts, very low side walls, and the ends filled in with bamboo screens. The dwelling-houses in the New Hebrides and Banks' Islands are poor, and contain little that can be called furniture; a chest on legs, cleverly made, to contain dried bread-fruit, a fire-place sunk into the ground, a hole and pile of stones for an oven; wooden hooks, cut from branching trees, hanging from the roof with bags of food to protect them from the rats; large wooden platters with their pestles, bowls, bamboos for water, and wicker dishes leaning against the side walls; a few wooden knives and tools stuck between the layers of thatch; mats spread upon the floor; these may be seen everywhere; and often there is an inner chamber, screened off with reeds. The door is nothing but a number of stalks of sago fronds run through the middle by a stick which is thrust down between the double threshold of the doorway, and tied above, when the house is empty, from outside through an opening left above the doorway for the purpose. The gamal, clubhouse, is in construction the same, but larger, stronger, and furnished with openings in the sides as well as doorways at the ends. The roofing is thatch of the smaller sago-palm, which makes an excellent roof, and the preparation and fixing of which is the chief work of house-building. The palm frond, with its midrib removed, and the leaflets doubled over a reed, and pinned together with wooden skewers, or spikes from the base of sago fronds (the Malay atap), is in all the islands what a tile or slate or shingle is elsewhere. In the Solomon Islands the cocoa-nut frond is also used, the lesser sago being apparently unknown. The roofing there, however, is very fine, the ataps being laid very close together, and the thatch extremely thick in the large buildings such as the canoe-houses. These, oha in Malanta and San Cristoval, kiala in Florida and Ysabel, to which the Santa Cruz madai and ofilau correspond, are fine and spacious buildings; the kiala at Kolakamboa in Florida was a hundred feet long by fifty wide, and fifty high; an oha, in Ugi and San Cristoval at least, was decorated with all the skill of the noteworthy native artist. In these the large canoes are kept, men congregate and young men sleep, strangers are entertained, the huge wooden bowls used in feasts are kept, the jawbones of pigs eaten or killed in such feasts are suspended, and the skulls of men killed in war, and sometimes no doubt also eaten in the place, are hung up; in the oha also are the mangite of the dead (page 262). The posts which support the ridge-pole and the purlins of an oha are carved into figures of men, crocodiles and sharks; a kiala is much less ornamented. A Solomon Island dwelling-house is certainly superior to one in the Eastern groups; its walls are higher, it is more generally partitioned into chambers, and it is furnished with bedsteads which lift the sleeper from the ground; its higher and better-finished ridge-piece gives it a more picturesque appearance. When the visitor from the eastward reaches Florida he finds houses built on piles; when he reaches Ysabel he sees tree-houses for the first time. The pile-houses are excellent dwellings, the side walls and the floor formed of split bamboos flattened and interlaced, and the face of the
house handsomely ornamented with interlacing patterns of bamboo stained black. The dwelling-houses of chiefs are sometimes noble buildings; a new one at Honggo measured twenty-four paces long by nine wide, and was thirty feet high. The floor of this, of interlaced bamboo, was raised some height above the ground, and the hearth upon the ground occupied a sunken space. Inside such a house small houses for several wives are sometimes ranged against the walls, and sometimes a tiny house on piles is built in the middle. In former days when a chief's dwelling-house or canoe-house was finished a man's head was taken for it as for a new canoe; a boy or woman was sometimes bought to be killed. It is a matter of tradition that men were crushed under the base of the great pillar of such a house, when it was set in its place. The tree-houses, vako, are not seen till Ysabel is reached, where they are needed as a refuge from the head-hunters. One of these to which Bishop Patteson mounted, was built at a height of ninety-four feet from the ground, and was approached by a ladder from a fortified rock below which the tree was rooted; the house, which had a stage outside it, was eighteen feet long, ten feet broad, and eight feet high. The houses at Santa Cruz, according to the account given of the first discovery, were round; they are now square, though round houses are said to be built. The only round house that has come under my notice was at Ha'ani in San Cristoval, one built to contain and shelter the village drums, and an excellent building. Sometimes in the Banks' Islands a gamal may be seen the rafters of which are curved. It may be well to notice here how the two words for house run through the islands; one, which in Malay is ruma, varying from that form in San Cristoval to 'ma in the Loyalty Islands and Santa Cruz; the other, which is whare in New Zealand, not by any means so common, but vale and hale in the New Hebrides, vale, vathe and va'e in the Solomon Islands. The absence of ancient house-mounds has been observed (page 48), and accounted for by the little permanence of village sites. When a ruinous house is demolished to build another on the same site, it is found that the constant sweeping of the floor has sunk it below the outside level, and that this again has been raised close round the house by accumulation of various rubbish. When the new house is to be built, the hollow inside is filled with the outside accumulation, and the result is a little elevation of the site. If then an ancient site is seen some four or five feet high, it must represent a pretty long occupation of the ground.
In two islands far apart, in Ysabel and in Santa Maria, there are very remarkable structures to be seen. In Bugotu, Ysabel, Bishop Patteson slept in 1866 in a fortified place thus described. 'The site for the village has been chosen on a hill surmounted by steep, almost perpendicular coral rocks; the forest has been cleared for some space all round, so as to prevent any enemy from approaching unperceived; there is a wall of stones of considerable height on that side where the rock is less precipitous, with one narrow entrance, approached only by a smooth slippery trunk of a tree, laid at a somewhat steep inclination over a hollow below.' So also at Tega the people built a toa, 'an impregnable fort on a rocky knoll in the midst of the village.' These forts are made for protection against head-hunters. The stone buildings in a village in Gaua, Santa Maria, are very extraordinary; nothing like them has been seen elsewhere in these islands. There are three small gamal houses on platforms about ten feet high, built up with stones untouched by any tool, and some of them three feet long by two deep. The building is wonderfully square and regular; the style quite Cyclopean, the large stones ingeniously fitted, and the interstices filled with small stones. Besides these platforms there are two or three obelisks about four feet high, and a little dolmen of three stones. There are also two wona platforms, such as are always seen near a gamal (page 101), but much larger, and built of large stones very squarely put together. In one of these is a passage for pigs with a stone lintel. These remarkable works are shown in the frontispiece. That such stone-work exists elsewhere in these islands cannot be positively denied, but none has been heard of, and in the neighbouring islands there is nothing at all resembling it. It would naturally be thought, therefore, to belong to former times and to a different population; but it is indeed recent, and has proceeded from the ambition or the fancy of a single man but lately dead. When he reached the rank in the suqe in which he had no equal, and had to eat alone, he determined to build his gamal unlike those of other men. When he took further steps, and made his kolekole feasts (page 110), he did the same. For this he hired men from Lakona in the same island, where they build their wona with small stones; they selected the stones that suited Vagalo's design, and worked under his direction. This example of originality, and of the individual enterprise which has produced a work single of its kind, seems most valuable. It may help to explain the strange trilithon at Tonga.
(3) Cultivations. The Melanesians are a horticultural people; the skill and care with which gardens were kept and planted could not from the first fail to strike their visitors, and marked them off by a distinction that cannot be mistaken from the natives of Australia. The Melanesian 'labourer' carried off to Queensland was amazed to find men who, though black, had no garden, and did not bring back very flattering accounts of white men's cultivation either. A garden of yams carefully trained on reeds, kept absolutely clear from weeds, and beautiful in the leafage of the vines, is a fine sight indeed; gardens, in San Cristoval as an example, with the various plots within a common fence neatly marked and divided, shew the exact regard for individual rights; gardens raised and worked in steps on the steep sides of Meralava have been formed with much skill and labour; the irrigated gardens of the esculent caladium or arum in Aurora and Vanua Lava (if any survive the ruin caused by the labour trade in the latter island), are a proof of considerable and very ancient skill in cultivation. The esculent caladium is grown for food in Egypt and in Syria, and its use stretches in an unbroken chain from China throughout the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans; it is not by any accident that a dry garden, as opposed to an irrigated one, is called uma in Sumatra and in the New Hebrides. The respective shares of men and women in garden work is settled by local custom. Cultivation has produced a wonderful variety in yams, bananas, bread-fruit, and no doubt other common food-producing plants; I have a list of eighty names of varieties of yams, and sixty of bread-fruit, grown in the little island of Mota, most of which an experienced native recognizes and names at once. It may be said generally, that the natives are fond of planting flowering shrubs and sweet herbs about their villages, but this is much more seen in the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides than in the Solomon Islands. The beauty and variety of hibiscus, croton, dracsena, acalypha, amaranthus, are surprising; no village is without its ornamental plants and flowers. In the Banks' Islands they know how to graft the various kinds of croton; taking two young branches of equal size and breaking the end off each, removing an inch of the bark from the stock and the same length of the wood from the scion, bringing the bark of each to meet exactly; this is done in damp hot weather only.
(4) Weapons. The use of the bow is universal in the islands with which we are concerned; but the bow is not universally the chief war weapon. The spear is in some islands so conspicuously the fighting weapon that it is easy for one who has seen a good deal of native life to deny that the bow is used in war, though, as in Florida for example, the use of it is not so very rare. In Florida, Guadalcanar, Ysabel, San Cristoval, and to a less degree in Malanta, the proper thing is to fight with spears; and the fashion may not be of very long standing, if at least we may take the narrative of the first discoverers to be correct. With the spear comes the use of the shield; yet the San Cristoval spearmen use no such defence, but turn off spears thrown at them with long curved glaives, and the shields in use in Florida are not made in that island. Spears are generally made of palm wood, in Ysabel of ebony; they are mostly barbed, but in Florida the kona are headed with human leg-bones, cut and broken into jagged points. The fighting with spears in the open, as on a beach, is not attended with much mortality, and comes very much to a series of duels; when one was hit, his enemy would run in on him with his club. There are occasions on which a combined attack is made upon a village by enemies who have by payment and by promises secured the assistance of numerous allies, and such an attack, if not at once successful or defeated, becomes something like a siege; but an open spear fight, the mutual spearing, vei totogoni, of Florida, is not common; ambushes set round a village in the night, or for a single man in the path, are more common and deadly; in these the tomahawk is now the effective weapon. When a young warrior in Florida killed his first man, he would let the blood run from the weapon into his mouth. The bows of Malanta, powerful weapons, are commonly used in war in that island. Slings are not unknown in the Solomon Islands, and are said to have been brought into use for attacking the tree-houses. Men never like to go about without something in the hand, to be used in a sudden quarrel perhaps; in Florida and thereabouts a paddle-shaped club is a favourite walking weapon, rau ni Aba, the leaf, so called, of Aba, a place in Guadalcanar where they are made. The spears, shields, clubs, bows and arrows of the Solomon Islands are common in museums. The spear is practically unknown as a weapon in the Banks' Islands, it comes into use, in company with the bow, in Ambrym; the Espiritu Santo spear, with its triple point and graduated barbing of human bone, is perhaps the mosfc fearful of all these weapons. Where they fought with bows, as in the Banks' Islands, an open battle was not common; much shouting of defiance, cursing, abuse and boasting, stamping with the heel, and grasping of the ground with the toes, a great sign of valour, resulted in little bloodshed. Slings, talvava, in the Banks' Islands were used chiefly in defence against a night attack; when such was expected, men would from time to time sling stones down the paths by which the enemy would approach; but skilful slingers would do good service in a fight. Clubs in the Banks' Islands never seem to have been the carefully, and indeed beautifully, shaped weapons used in the New Hebrides; with these latter arrows are warded off in fighting.
The Melanesian weapons, however, which demand most attention, and require most explanation, are the poisoned arrows, as yet so little understood. The belief in the deadly virulence of the poison used, and in the hideous methods of preparing it, is too firmly fixed to readily give way. Yet a careful examination of poisoned arrows and of their effects, by English and by French medical officers, has resulted twice over in the declaration that the reputed poison-stuff on the arrows is not poisonous, and that therefore the fatal effects of wounds from the arrows are not due to the preparation which is reputed poisonous. From the scientific side, then, the view is clear; and if the matter is approached from the native side, it appears with equal plainness that the deadly quality which they believe to attach to these weapons does not belong to what can properly be called poison. It has been said (page 213) that the Melanesian preparations wherewith deadly property was believed to be conveyed to food were not properly poisonous, that the effect was not thought to be produced by the natural properties of the substance used, but entirely by supernatural properties imparted by magic arts; and this although there might be deleterious qualities in the stuff employed. Most certainly this is the native view of what is called poison on their arrows; what is sought, and as they firmly believe obtained, is an arrow which shall have supernatural power, mana, to hurt, in the material of which it is made, and in the qualities added by charms and magical preparations. That a punctured wound in the tropics is often followed by tetanus, that the breaking off of a fine point of bone in a wound is sure to be dangerous and likely to be fatal, that an acrid or burning substance introduced by the arrow into the wound will increase inflammation in it, are facts altogether outside the native field of view. The point is of a dead man's bone, and has therefore mana, it has been tied on with powerful mana charms, and has been smeared with stuff hot and burning, as the wound is meant to be, prepared and applied with charms; that is what they mean by what we, not they, call poisoned arrows. And when the wound has been given, its fatal effect is to be aided and carried on by the same magic that has given supernatural power to the weapon.
Poisoned arrows, as they are called, are used in the Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz, the Banks' Islands, and New Hebrides. In the Torres Islands and Lepers' Island arrows are used for fighting which are not poisoned, yet belong entirely to the same class with those that are, being as much valued, trusted and feared as the others; a very instructive fact: in Lepers' Island both kinds are used. There is a great difference in the size and weight of the arrows of various islands, and in the proportion of the parts, but the structure is everywhere the same. There is a shaft of reed, a foreshaft of hard wood, tree-fern or palm, and a point of human bone; the point is let into the foreshaft, and that into the shaft, and the joinings are firmly bound with fine string or fibre. Santa Cruz arrows are uniformly nearly four feet long, and weigh about two ounces; Banks' Island arrows are about three feet nine inches long, and weigh about an ounce; Torres Island arrows are only two feet ten inches long, weighing three-quarters of an ounce. The bone point of a Santa Cruz arrow is seven inches long, and the foreshaft of hard wood, curiously carved and coloured, is sixteen inches long. The bone head of a Torres Island arrow is a foot long, the fore-shaft eight inches, the reed-shaft twenty inches. The one is a heavy and powerful weapon, requiring a large and powerful bow; the other is slight and weak, little more than a human hone fitted for the bow; one is poisoned, the other is not; both are in native estimation equally deadly. Some of the New Hebrides and Solomon Island arrows have a very small point of bone. It is the human bone first of all that in native opinion gives the arrow its efficacy; the bone of any dead man will do, because any ghost has mana to work on the wounded man; but the bone of a man who was powerful when alive is more valued.
Though it is the human bone that gives in the first place the deadly quality to the arrow, yet the bone must be fitted into the shaft with the magic charms which secure super-natural power to the weapon. The maker sings or mutters charms as he ties the bone to the foreshaft; hence, as I have been told, the mana is put in where the bone joins the foreshaft. These charms are known but to a few whose business it is to make the arrows; but still if one should, as did the young man at Omba who made arrows of his brother's bones, take the bones of one he knew in life and call upon his ghost, as he would be sure to do, in binding on the head, no doubt his arrows would be perfectly well prepared. The 'poison,' again, is an addition to the power of the bone; the magical efficacy of this preparation is added to the supernatural power residing in the dead man's bone. When the bone had made the wound, the dead man's power, which had been brought by incantations to the arrow, would make the wound fatal. The preparation of burning juices mixed with charms, and smeared upon the bone with charms, carries to the wound what is itself like inflammation, and the ghost will make it inflame.
The treatment of the wounded man proceeds on the same principle. If the arrow, or a part of it, has been retained, or has been extracted with leaf poultices, it is kept in a damp place or in cool leaves; then the inflammation will be little and soon subside. Shells, which have been made efficacious for the purpose by charms, are kept rattling above the house where the wounded man lies, to keep off the hostile ghost. In the same way the man who has inflicted the wound has by no means done all that he can do. He and his friends will drink hot and burning juices, and chew irritating leaves; pungent and bitter herbs will be burnt to make an irritating smoke; a bundle of leaves known to the shooter or bought from a wizard, a qesis, will be tied upon the bow that sent the arrow, to secure a fatal result; the arrow-head, if recovered, will be put into the fire; the bow will be kept near the fire to make the wound it has inflicted hot, or, as in Lepers' Island, will be put into a cave haunted by a ghost; the bow-string will be kept taut and occasionally pulled, to bring on tension of the nerves and the spasms of tetanus to the wounded man.
The preparation of the poisoned arrows in Aurora, New Hebrides, is thus described by a native writer: 'When they have dug up a dead man's bone they break it into splinters and cut it properly into shape, and sit down and rub it on a stone of brain-coral with water. After that it is fixed into a bit of tree-fern wood; everyone cannot do that, it is some one who knows (the charms). When that is done, the thick juice of no-to (excævaria agallocha) is put upon it. Then it is put in a cool place on the side wall of a public hall, and no fire is made there, so that the cold may strike upon it and it may turn like mould. Then they dig up the root of a creeper they call loki, and come back and strip off the bark and scrape the inner fibre into a leaf; and that, wrapped in another leaf, is put upon the fire. When it is cooked this is wrapped in the web from the spathe of a cocoa-nut, and squeezed into a leaf of the nettle-tree. Then with a piece of stick they smear it on the point of bone to help the toto. After this it is put again into a cool place, and it swells up in lumps, which
Shafts. Santa Maria. as it dries become smooth again. Then it is fastened to the reed, and bound round with fine string. After that they take a green earth, which is only found in one place, and paint it over. When it has been painted, they take it to the beach and dip it into the sea-water till it becomes hard; then the toto (poisoned arrow) is finished.' In the neighbouring island of Whitsuntide they finish off with stuff found on rocks on the shore, thought by them to be the dung of crabs, and believed to have much magic power.
In Mota, in the Banks' Islands, the poison is made from the root of the climbing plant loki, cooked over the fire with the juice of pandanus root. This mixture is black and thick, and is smeared on the points of human bone, which are put in the sun to dry, and then kept five days indoors wrapped up, when the stun turns white. Another mixture which is thought to cause more inflammation and to act more quickly is made with the juice of toi, an euphorbia. The points of these arrows are protected with caps, and the arrows themselves carried in a quiver. The man in a rage who is ready to shoot pulls off the caps and thrusts them into his hair, and grasps a number of arrows in his bow hand. The shafts of these toto arrows are most elaborately ornamented in Santa Maria. No arrows are feathered.
At Santa Cruz the foreshaft is of palm wood, carved with shark's tooth or shell, and painted red and white. The
Shell Adze. Torres Islands.bone head is covered with a preparation of vegetable ashes, which gives great supernatural power. The fore-shaft is bound at intervals with a string of fibre, which is covered with the same sort of preparation which covers the bone point; and this binding is no doubt done with charms to fasten supernatural qualities on the arrow.
The common result of a wound from any of these arrows, whether 'poisoned' or of bare bone, is certainly tetanus, which is expected. Even if, however, the loki be, as has been supposed, some kind of strychnine, it is well established that this is not the cause of the disease. If it be asked how the very common belief has arisen that these arrows are poisoned with putrefying human flesh, if the preparation be wholly vegetable as above described, I can but conjecture that natives answered 'dead man' to early traders' enquiries. The native meant that the deadly qualities of the weapon came from the dead man of whose bone the head was made; the European, thinking of poison, not magic, supposed that the poison was from a corpse. If it be asked again why, if the arrows be not really poisoned, the natives are so much afraid of them and careful not to touch them, it is enough to say that they firmly believe that they are deadly, and that this belief will outlast the belief in the power of the charms with which they are made.
(5) Tools and Implements. Before the introduction of
Santa Cruz. metal, the adzes with which most of native work was done were in some islands of stone, in some of shell. The division is very clear: the Solomon islanders, except in Rennell and Bellona, use stone, and so do the New Hebrides people; the Santa Cruz people, Torres islanders and Banks' islanders used shell, for adzes the giant clam shell. The form of Florida stone adzes and of the Santa Cruz shell adzes is the same, roughly cylindrical, the cutting edge being a segment of the circumference; the stone adzes of the Eastern Solomon Islands and the New Hebrides, and the shell adzes of the Banks' Islands, have the same general form, a long oval section, the flattish sides meeting to form the edge. The shell adzes of Santa Cruz are beautifully finished, those of the Banks' Islands often very rough. When iron was introduced the Banks' Islands people, seeing it in the form of hoop iron, were inclined to call it heaven-root, gar tuka, supposing ships to come from beyond the horizon, and to have brought some of the strong and hard base of the firmament; when axes were seen they settled into the use of the word talai, clam shell, for iron. In Florida, Solomon Islands, a stone adze was gila, the ira of San Cristoval, and whence they took halo for iron is not explained. It is interesting to observe that in Lepers' Island, the stone adzes were called talai maeto, black clam shell, a name now given to iron; the native adze was evidently at first of shell, talai, and when stone was used the old name was retained. They still use the til, a volute shell,
Shell Adze. Lepers' Island.
Stone Adze. San Cristoval.for working the inside of their canoes. Another shell, the tive, was used in the Banks' Islands for a chisel. The rapidity with which the shell and stone implements give way to iron is surprising. Santa Cruz was very little visited, almost unvisited, ten years ago, and it was difficult to get any shell specimens even five years ago. The crookedness and slightness of the wooden handles used in the Solomon Islands is surprising. For cutting threads, shaving, and fine carving, obsidian, chert, and sharks' teeth were used. The bamboo knife has hardly been superseded by steel or iron; the edge will not stand long, but while it stands it is far sharper than a common steel knife in hands that know how to use it.
Pottery is unknown in the islands which are here in view, being present in well-known forms in Fiji, and in ruder unglazed dishes in Espiritu Santo. There may be room for question whether the wide circular wooden dishes, tapia, of the
Shell Adze. Mota. Banks' Islands, and the deep wooden pots, popo, bought by the Florida people from Guadalcanar, carry with them any reminiscence of fictile ware. The paltara, used to chop bread-fruit open in the Banks' Islands, is an interesting representation in wood of the shell adze.
Stone-boiling, in Mota salo, was known all through the islands, though not very much practised for cooking, at least 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.
Float.To fish for these from a canoe a very long and light line is required; in Santa Cruz and the
Santa Cruz Float.Solomon Islands a float is used, a short stick, or wooden shaft shaped like a bird atop, weighted with a stone, a contrivance which must also be known in the Banks' Islands, since it has a name, wo-uto, there. The stitch in netting is that familiar in Europe, and nets are made extremely fine, and very large and strong. In the Solomon Islands no mesh is used for a very large net, but for a pig-net the loop is measured by the knee, for a turtle-net by a man's shoulders. Nets, sometimes fifty feet square, are used as seines, and are let down between stages in shoaling water; they are cast by the hand, or sunk by the side of a canoe. An ingenious contrivance is where a square net has its four corners kept apart by two diagonal elastic rods, at the intersection of which the line by which it is lowered is attached; when a fish is seen above the net the line is hauled up, the ends of the rods come together, and the net forms a bag containing the fish. Fishing with a kite is practised in the Solomon Islands and Santa Cruz; the kite is flown from a canoe, and from it hangs a line with a tangle of spider's web or of fibre, which it drags along the water, and in which a fish with a projecting under jaw entangles its teeth. In Lepers' Island small fish are caught in nets made of spider's web; in the Banks' Islands they are driven by children into barricades of dead coral. A singular method of catching sharks is practised at San Cristoval, which is said to have been borrowed from Santa Cruz; an outrigger canoe is used with a bamboo stage on the outrigger; one man paddles the canoe, another on the stage shakes cocoa-nut shells strung on a loop of bamboo to attract a shark; when a shark comes near, the man substitutes a fish, and has a noose ready into which the shark swims; when caught and hauled on to the stage the shark is despatched with a club. This goes on some way out from shore, to be clear of man-eating sharks, for those caught in this way are eaten. The dugong is taken, but rarely, at the Bugotu end of Ysabel. The reef and lagoon between Ra and Motlav is at times the scene of an exciting chase of fish, when a shoal is driven into the shallow of the reef by a long line of natives shouting and beating the water with their hands. I have seen at Lakona in Santa Maria, and no doubt the same thing is seen elsewhere, a large fish-trap in which reed fences lead the fish as the tide retires into circular enclosures from which they cannot retreat. Walls of stone to shut back fish as the tide ebbs are common in the New Hebrides. Fresh-water fish are abundant wherever there are streams and lakes; some the natives recognise as peculiar to fresh-water, some they say live also in the sea, sale rua tasi; in the mud of the irrigated gardens of Aurora an eatable fish is found. Eels are abundant, but in some places are not eaten. In the tas, the lake of Santa Maria, they are very large; when the water is low the natives dig pits by the margin of the lake, and into these the eels find their way when the water rises; when it recedes again the eels are left behind and are shot and speared. Names of rank are given to the very largest eels, after the names of the Suqe; it is the fashion to measure anything remarkable for size, and to hang up the measuring line in the gamal; I have seen a measure of thirty inches the circumference of an eel not of the highest rank.
(7) Food and Cooking. The yam no doubt takes the highest place as the staple food of Melanesians, though in some places what is commonly known as taro, the esculent caladium, is much more grown. The number of varieties of yams in a single island has been noticed; there is much difference also in the general character of the tuber in eastern and western groups of islands, the Solomon Island yams being round and compact, and of no great size, while in the New Hebrides one at least has been measured by the height of a man of more than six feet. A species with a prickly vine, the tomago of the Banks' Islands, mitopu of Santa Cruz, pana of Florida, hana of San Cristoval, is very commonly grown; and another prickly kind is sometimes cultivated, which grows wild in the Banks' Islands, the qauro, and is eaten there grated and washed in sea-water when food is scarce. The caladium is only called taro by the natives when they think they are speaking English; there are many varieties grown in dry ground on the hills, as well as in the skilfully irrigated gardens of Aurora. The giant caladium, via alike in the Banks' Islands and Madagascar, is eaten in the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands. Bananas supply much food in numerous varieties; in Lepers' Island the fruit seems to be eaten in larger proportion than elsewhere. The bread-fruit is scarce in the Solomon Islands, most abundant perhaps at Mota and the other Banks' Islands, where it forms an important part of the food supply when dried over a fire, wound round with strips of leaves, as is done also in the Solomon Islands, and preserved in chests. The making of anything like the madrai of Fiji from fermented bread-fruit is not practised. In the Banks' Islands the pith of the sago-palm is washed into starch in a trough of the stem, and cooked in cakes, but it hardly ranks as an article of common food. In Santa Cruz it has an important place; sago pith cooked whole was the main provision of canoes from Tikopia which visited the Banks' Islands one year during my stay. Melanesian natives are very fond of mashing yams, taro and bread-fruit, and eat the puddings so made with sauce of the cream-like juice squeezed out of scraped cocoa-nuts, and cooked by stone-boiling or in the shells upon a slow fire. The leaves of an hibiscus like the manihot and of many trees are cooked in the ovens. Tapioca has been introduced. The nuts of the canarium have a very important place in native cookery. Though a good deal of cookery is done by roasting upon the fire such things as fish, mash, eggs, wrapped in leaves and laid upon the embers, and thin yams continually scraped and turned, all the substantial meals are prepared in the native oven. There are differences in detail, but the method generally is the same, and the result admirable, the food being cooked by steam in its own juices. The hole in the ground which forms the oven is mostly permanent, with its heap of stones that will bear the fire lying by it; the fire lighted in the hole which has been lined with stones heats those and others heaped upon it; when the fire has burnt down, these latter stones are taken out with wooden tongs, the food wrapped in leaves is arranged within, hot stones are laid between the larger parcels, and the rest of the hot stones above all; the whole is shut in with leaves, or may be covered in with earth; water, salt or fresh, is poured in to make steam, and every escape of the steam is watched and closed. The process is lengthy, and gives much of the day's occupation to the native men, who cook for themselves; it is a pity, perhaps also because it takes less time, that the introduction of iron pots and saucepans is changing the native cooking for the worse. A good deal of care is taken about washing the hands before cooking, and to eat panlepa, dirty-handed, is a discredit in the Banks' Islands. Fire is produced by the stick and groove.
(8) Clothing. Bark-cloth, tapa, hammered out from the bark of paper mulberry is made, but roughly, in Ysabel, and worn in Florida; it was made till lately in Ulawa and San Cristoval; a rough kind, made perhaps always from the bark of banyan figs, is used in the New Hebrides. When such cloth was in use the name of it, e.g. tivi in Ysabel and Florida, sala in Ulawa, was ready for European cloth. In Aurora gavu, and in the Banks' Islands nearest to Aurora gagavu, is used for cloth, no doubt identical with the Maori kahu and kakahu. In Mota the word siopa was applied at once to European clothes, which, as the natives knew nothing of tapa, was surprising. The native explanation is that the Tongans, who for two years visited the Banks' Islands and made a short settlement on Qakea, were clothed with siopa. They have in fact shifted the vowels in siapo, hiapo (the Maori hiako, bark), the name of bark cloth in Tonga and Samoa. In Motlav, again, the word malsam was applied to cloth, of which the first syllable is no doubt the common malo of Fiji and elsewhere. It was strange that among the people of the Banks' Islands, where the men were content to go without any covering at all, the art of making a very handsome and elaborate dress was known; this was the malo saru, the malo put on over the head, of variegated matting work in four pieces joining at the neck, worn in dances by those of sufficient rank to do so. The art expired some years ago with the last two men who practised it. Two malo saru, probably the only existing examples, are in the British Museum, one of which is shewn on page 108. To all appearance the work, which much resembles that in the Santa Cruz mats, must, like those, have been produced in a kind of loom.
The dress of women varies remarkably, and does not vary quite in accordance with the changes in the dress of men. In Florida and its neighbourhood in the Solomon Islands, where the male dress is scanty but perhaps sufficient, the women have short petticoats of fibre. In the south-eastern Solomon Islands the male attire is very scanty, and the women are contented with a fringe. The men again at Santa Cruz are amply clad in what may perhaps be called the dress of the Polynesian colonies, and the women wrap their bodies and cover their heads with mats. In the Banks' Islands the men wore nothing, and the women had a little double band, pari, ending in fringed tufts, of platted fibre, sometimes well ornamented with a crimson dye. In Lepers' Island the dress
of the men is the same with that of Santa Cruz; the women indoors wear the pari, and out of the house wrap themselves in ample mats. But whereas the man's dress is the same in Pentecost as in Lepers' Island, the petticoat of the women again appears there, and continues southwards in the group. In Lepers' Island a crimson dye is applied to mats through a stencil of banana leaf.
(9) Money. There is some recognized medium of exchange in all the islands now in view, but the shell currency of the Banks' Islands and of the Solomon Islands is perhaps alone worthy of the name of money. It is probable that the ornaments of the person most in vogue have everywhere a certain relative value, and pass in exchange for food and other necessaries, and the general apparatus of native life. Besides these there are products of industry which are made for the single purpose of exchange, and which may be called Mat-money, Feather-money, and Shell-money. The Mat-money is in use in the Northern New Hebrides, Aurora, Pentecost and Lepers' Island. The mats are long and narrow, made for no other purpose than to represent value, and are in Aurora and Lepers' Island valued the more, the more ancient and black they are. Women plait them; either those of the family, or women hired for the purpose. In Aurora the name is malo, the name of the dress which is worn by some men there, as by all at Lepers' Island. The mats are kept in little houses specially built for them, in which a fire is kept always burning to blacken them; when they hang with soot they are particularly valued. Their value, however, is estimated by the number of folds, which are counted in tens; a mat of twenty folds is called double, one of thirty folds treble. Though these mats will buy anything of sufficient value to equal a mat, they are mostly used for buying the steps in the Suqe Club. If a man wants to raise funds for this, he sends a pig into a village where he knows mats are to be had, and he receives mats less in value than his pig; when he can repay the mats he recovers his pig. In Lepers' Island and in Pentecost these mats are called maraha. In the latter island red ones, bwana, a word which in San Cristoval means pandanus, are of most value; in Lepers' Island the ancient and rotten ones which have long hung in the house are very choice, though the value still goes by the number of folds. There are three lengths of mats in common use; some mats are a hundred fathoms long-, some when folded ten fathoms; the width is about two feet. A middlesized mat will buy a tusked pig. A rich man will keep fifty mats and more in his house, hung up and decaying, a proof of ancient wealth. Mat-money is also lent at interest, and so becomes a source of wealth; there is no fixed rate of increase, the lender gets what he is able to insist upon, up to a double return. In these three islands the discs of shell, som, hom, are beautifully prepared and worked up into armlets and necklaces, which are much valued, but there is no use of them as money. Feather-money is peculiar to Santa Cruz; it is made of the red feathers from under the wings of a parrot, Trichoglossus Massena. The birds are caught in the deep bush, where they are very tame, with bird-lime smeared on a rod which a man carries in his hand, and on which they perch; he must take care not to eat anything hot or fat, or they will not come near him. The small red feathers are first gummed on to pigeon's feathers, and these are bound on to a prepared foundation in rows, so that only the red is seen. A length of this feather-money, called tavau, about fifteen feet long, is coiled up and packed with peculiar ornaments. Short pieces are made for convenience in arranging about prices. On festive occasions the dancing ground, nava, fenced round with huge discs of coral, is hung with the uncoiled feather-money of those who make the feast. The people say that formerly they had also shell-money. Though this feather-money is peculiar to Santa Cruz, there is in the Banks' Islands, in Santa Maria and Meralava, where the som shells are not found, a medium of exchange of the same character. The little feathers near the eye of fowls are bound on strings, and generally dyed a fine crimson; these are used as necklaces or anklets, by way of ornament and distinction (kole wetapup, p. 110), but also pass very much in the way of money. A braid not unlike this was formerly used in the Loyalty Islands as a medium of exchange, the red fur under the ears of the flying-fox being used in the same way as the feathers. Shell-money in the Solomon Islands and the Banks' Islands differs widely in one respect; in the former it is in some places carefully and evenly made, and is of two sorts of less and greater relative value, while in the latter it is all alike rough and unfinished, only quantity being cared for; but in the Banks' Islands the character of money is more clearly marked, and money-dealing surprisingly developed. In the Solomon Islands, porpoise teeth in San Cristoval and Malanta, dogs' teeth in Florida and Ysabel, are current with a tolerably fixed value; of the dogs' teeth only that immediately behind the canines is valued, and these to be worth much must be very white and sound. The shell-money used in Florida and at Saa is made at Alite, and is taken in exchange mostly for pigs. The discs are carefully and accurately made from certain shells broken and rubbed into shape, the holes for stringing being drilled with a pump-drill, in Florida puputa, in San Cristoval nono, armed with a point of flint or obsidian. These discs are used for ornaments as well as money. The money is either white, turombuto, or red, rongo; all is generally called rongo, and there does not appear to be a definite proportion of value between the two kinds. Six coils, about ten fathoms, is called a rongo, and ten rongo of red or white is an isa. Anything can be bought with shell-money; and the money is lent, but without interest. In this last particular the Banks' islanders are so advanced that it is hard to believe them in other ways so much uncivilized. The material is rude enough, but the forms and terms of money-lending are most elaborate. To make the money, the body of a shell, som, is broken, and the tip rubbed on a stone by means of a pointed stick inserted in the broken end till the inner hollow of the shell is reached; into the hole thus appearing at the tip of the shell the stick is then inserted, and the broken base ground smooth on the stone. There is thus a shell used for each disc, and no drill is needed, as indeed none is known. The shell discs are strung upon a slender strip of the bark of a hibiscus. The shell-money, som, thus made is good for any kind of purchase, but the great use of it is in buying steps in the Suqe Club. The som is arranged and counted in coils; two sticks are fixed in the ground and the som is wound, siga, upon them; a turn from the one stick and back again is tal; ten rounds, tal sangavul, is a hank or coil, qatagiu; when the quantity is less than the qatagiu it is counted as so many tal. The full length of the turn is a full fathom, the measure of a man's arms stretched out, rova togtogoa; if a smaller measure is used the qatagiu is named accordingly. Rich men accumulate large quantities of this money; a hundred qatagiu, however, is enough to make a man rich. Accumulation results from the system of the Suqe and Tamate Clubs above described (chapters v, vi), and also from the practice of money-lending; but according to native ideas the unseen spiritual influence called mana was the cause of wealth. The rate of interest is cent, per cent, without regard to time. A man borrows, avu, and the owner lends, tawe; a debt, pug, is thus established. A debt is not only contracted by borrowing, but a rich man upon occasion imposes a loan, which his friend for his own credit is bound to accept, and to discharge with a double return. The pressure put on a debtor who does not pay when payment is demanded is admirably effective. All the men of the creditor's place come and sit, bringing their wives with them, in the debtor's premises; the debtor lights his fire and cooks food for them; if the payment is not forthcoming they stay over night, go home next morning, and after a while repeat the visit. The debtor's neighbours and friends pity him and help him with food and money, till he scrapes enough together to pay the debt. A man borrowing money of a friend to pay a debt asks him to shield him, ti goro, to stand between him and his creditor. If a man borrows money and lends that again to another, he is said to tul the lender, to treat him unfairly; if a man uses money he has borrowed of one man to satisfy another creditor, he is said to divert the payment, viro goro, into another course. When a man borrows, say ten strings of money, from another, he will make the creditor his debtor also, by lending him say four strings of his own money; this smaller loan is called a tano ravrav, a drawing-place, and to make it is said to put down rollers in the way as if to draw up a canoe, lango goro, because it is thought to make the transaction more easy for the borrower, who becomes the creditor of his creditor, and cannot so well be dunned by him. To pay a debt is to close it up, wono. Money transactions play a great part in native life: social advance is secured by possession of shell-money, because the steps in the Suqe Club cannot be taken without it; social eminence is maintained by it, because the moneyed man has his debtors under his thumb, and by the power he has of imposing a loan he can make rising men his debtors and keep them back. By the Suqe institution money was kept in continual circulation, alike in large and small quantities. The little reef island of Rowa supplies common money, and also the finer sort, which is used only as ornament. This is sometimes extremely small and finely made, and with it, before the introduction of beads, was sometimes strung a bit of remarkable stone or a concretion from some shell. In the Torres Islands, where the material for shell-money is absent, they now buy with beads, which indeed have in the Banks' Islands to some extent superseded money for small purchases; formerly their very pretty arrows were used in the way of money, and in a lesser degree mats, and boars' tusks; the head of the peculiar pig rawe, with its tusks, is still very valuable there.
(10) Decorative Arts. There appear to be four distinct groups into which the languages of the Melanesian islands
here in view naturally fall; and each of these groups has a distinctive style of decoration. The Western and Eastern Solomon Islands must be divided into two groups; San Cristoval, Ulawa, and Eastern Malanta have their own style
Banks' Island Ear-ornament.of art. Santa Cruz stands perfectly distinct; the Banks' Islands and the Northern New Hebrides must go together.
1. Beginning in the west, if there be anything distinctive it may be found in such ornament as appears on the lime-boxes of Ysabel. But there is and has been so much intercourse with islands further west that the style of New Britain ornament is represented in the paddles, for example, of Bngotu. The beautifully made and ornamented shields and clubs which have been common at Florida were made in Guadalcanar; the discs of clam-shell covered with a plate of tortoise-shell cut into an open-work pattern belong to all these islands to the west. Patterns of lines and circles in tattooing or incised on cocoa-nut bottles are also characteristic.
2. The carvings, paintings and representations of scenes of native life executed in San Cristoval and its neighbourhood have been mentioned. Drawings by native boys, such as those on pages 196, 259, would not be found in other islands. The decoration and fantastic shapes of bowls cannot fail to strike attention; the nautilus-shell inlay on bottles, cups, spoons, is really excellent. The artistic faculty of these people is remarkable. From Malanta come combs which shew extraordinary beauty of decoration as well as neatness of make; but they are the work of the inland people rather than of those whose skill is shewn in the ornamentation of canoes and canoe-houses. 3. The change of character in decoration when
Ornament. Aurora Island. Santa Cruz is reached is unmistakeable. The ornamental bands in the mats shew perhaps nothing distinctive; but while the fancy of the natives shews itself in the shapes into which their bowls and pillows are carved, there is a fixed determination of painted ornament to lines, crosses, and stars of black and red upon a white ground. Their love of turmeric as a dye for ornamented bags connects them with the Polynesian colonies, such as that in Mae in the New Hebrides. They stand alone in their love of tags and loose ends by way of ornament. 4. In the Banks' Islands and New Hebrides mats, baskets, bags are skilfully made and well ornamented; the decoration of reeds, as the shafts of arrows (page 311), and ear-ornaments with incised line patterns, is characteristic. It is remarkable that there is a style of pattern belonging to each island or neighbourhood; in a handful of ear-ornaments, natives can pick out each one and determine with certainty where it was made. In the patterns of tattooing, where it is used in these groups, and in the stencilled figures used on the mats in the New Hebrides, the character of the ornamentation shewn in the ear-ornaments is reproduced; just as tattoo on the cheeks of the women of the Florida neighbourhood follows the pattern incised on the cocoa-nut bottles.
With this conventional character of the ornament of each group or region there appears also upon occasion a remarkable freedom of ornamentation. The part of an ornamented walking-stick here shown was cut with a common knife in Norfolk Island by a native of Aurora, who was not at all aware that he was executing a work of art. A comparison of the graceful foliage ornamentation incised on the back of a nut-shell used as a casket with the lined pattern on the cocoa-nut bottle above, shews again an unexpected freedom in the art of Ysabel.
- In the Torres Islands of late years there were no canoes; the people were reduced to use catamarans of bamboo, if they wished to cross from one to another island. Their canoe-makers had died out, and they, very characteristically, acquiesced, as at Lakona also they did for a time, in going without.
- Dr. Guppy mentions Bishop Patteson's notice of an outrigger canoe at San Cristoval, said to have been built after a Santa Cruz model. Within the last few years again it has been said that at Ulawa they have lately learnt to catch sharks after a Santa Cruz fashion in outrigger canoes. But they certainly caught sharks in that way more than twenty years ago; and it is likely that if they had copied Santa Cruz canoes they had done so long before Bishop Patteson observed the outriggers. Such small canoes are not uncommon.
- A large Ulawa canoe is preserved in the Brenchley Museum at Maidstone; another is in the British Museum.
- Every kind of canoe has its own name; as in Florida, where the general name is tiola, the peko is the war canoe, with stem and stern running up to high flat ends, and long in proportion to its breadth; mbinambina, with stern turned up as in a peko, but with the head straight, with a guard of planks against the wash of the waves, and broader than a peko in proportion to its length; tola, with both ends turned up not very high; roko, with ends not turned up at all. a rest for spears forming part of a rib-piece cut out of a slab of wood and used to stiffen a canoe amidships. The figures represent a crocodile and a dog above, two men and two cockatoos below. To this rib-piece the cleats on the planks are seen to be lashed.
- In Mr. Brenchley's 'Cruise of the Curaçoa' is reproduced a native picture of a canoe from Ugi, now at Maidstone, in which the spears are seen in their rest; upon them is a bent bow set up upon its back, which is described as a bowl for propitiatory libations. Though the explanation is incorrect in this particular, sacrifices are commonly offered in canoes. The woodcut above shows
- In the woodcut above not only are the head, which, represents that taken when the canoe was first used, and the hanging board, which swings above the waves with a soothing motion, full of mana, but the bamboo tubes above wound round with red braid are stuffed with tindalo relics and leaves for protection and success.
- For example, Dikea, the chief of Ravu in Florida, bought his peko, named Lake (fire), at Olevuga in the same island, for sixty rongo, a large sum of money. It was brought over secretly and put into a kiala, canoe-house, built out of sight, till a head should have been procured. Dikea sent to his brothers Sauvui and Takua for help, and when he saw their fire-signal at the mouth of the Vula passage in the night joined them there, bringing the new canoe, and as they passed through other canoes joined the expedition. Before daylight they had ambushed at Hagalu; and in the morning a single man, Tibona, came by them in his canoe. They hid till he was past, and then drew down the new peko to chase him; he dived to escape, but they caught and killed him, set up his head at the prow of the canoe, and paddled back to Ravu with shouting and blowing conch-shells; the women and children however would not go out to see.
- 'It seems to be the custom here (at Ureparapara), as well as in some parts of Vanua Lava, for three or four families to occupy a single house. These
- Brenchley's 'Cruise of the Curaçoa,' chap. xvi; Guppy's 'Solomon Islands,' chap. iv. I have never seen any ornamentation so elaborate and interesting as that of an oha at Wango, long since fallen into decay.
- In Maewo, Aurora, 'the ima is the married man's residence. Within this house the cooking of the food for the family is done, and the married couples live. This house is known from the rest by having the front and back ends worked with cane, and more pains are expended on the building of it. The vale has no fire-place for cooking, and is mostly used as the apartment of the young females before marriage, and for stowing anything that may be inconvenient in the ima.'—Journal of Rev. C. Bice, 1886.
- The death of this man Valago shewed his remarkable character. Finding himself weak with advancing years and wasted by disease, he compelled a young man to fight with him at close quarters. Having received an arrow wound he died, forbidding vengeance, but expressing satisfaction that men should say that 'Valago was shot, and did not die like a woman.'
- 'Every inch that was available was used for irrigation, by means of one little streamlet which is made to do a vast deal of work before it can reach the sea in a course of about two miles.'—Bishop Selwyn, Maewo, 1878.
- This is now the first month of their preparation for yam planting, which they perform in different stages. After a man has marked out the range of his garden that is to be, he determines upon the day when they shall "umwa" it, that is clear out all the scrub and undergrowth. Here his friends make a "bee" for him, and get the business over in one day.' Kev. C. Bice, Maewo, 1883.
- According to Takua's account of the famous fight to which he owed his place in Florida, 200 canoes came together from the neighbouring parts to attack Ta-na-ihu. Their first onset being unsuccessful, because anticipated, they fought with spears on the slope of the hill for three days. The assailants then withdrew, without much loss on either side.
- Old men in the Torres Islands carry a heavy wooden pointed staff which may be called a pike. In the Banks' Islands a spear is called isar, stabber, but is only known in use, as in Aurora also, to stab pigs.
- About thirty years ago a combined attack was made by about 600 men from the southern parts of Vanua Lava upon the people of Port Patteson, who with their allies numbered about half their assailants. Their women backed up the attacked party, encouraging them with cries and beating upon the trees. There was no great loss of life, and the assailants retired. Not half the number could be brought together now.
- 'An Enquiry into the Reputed Poisonous Nature of the Arrows of the South Sea Islanders, by Staff-Surgeon A. B. Messer, M.D., E.N., published by the Authority of the Lords of the Admiralty,' 1876, has, with others, the following conclusions. 'That in the numerous cases in which men have been wounded by these arrows, no recorded instances are known of poisonous effects following.' 'That the "locked-jaw" is not the result of poison on the arrows; and as this disease is the only cause of fatal results after these wounds, the arrows themselves are not in any way dangerous beyond the severity of their wounds, and the conditions under which they are received.' The Report of the Commission appointed by the Governor of New Caledonia in 1883 is quoted by Mr. Romilly in the chapter on Poisoned Arrows in 'The Western Pacific and New Guinea,' as completely dispelling 'the vulgar notion of the fatal nature of these weapons.' As Mr. Romilly refers to myself, I may say that in the two cases mentioned the man who died had been little influenced, and the one who survived much influenced by Mission teaching, to which indeed it is reasonable to ascribe a good deal of the absence of alarm and distress from his mind. His constant exclamation was 'My mind is easy, I have heard the Bishop/ In that year, 1870, I obtained without difficulty the information concerning these arrows in the Banks' Islands which is here set forth, and which all that I have learnt since from other islands has shown to be correct. I do not remember to have heard of the renewal of the poison, which is likely enough.
- Natives would never use the same word for the preparation with which their arrows are smeared and for that which they mix with food.
- The true Lepers' Island arrow, liwue, is made with a broad white head of human bone with jagged edges, nine or ten inches long, and without any preparation in the way of poison; and they use also poisoned arrows made and bought in Maewo. To make the liwue the leg-bones of men of no particular consideration are taken up out of their graves. Not long ago there was a man in that island, who out of affection for his dead brother dug him up and made arrows of his bones. With these he went about speaking of himself as 'I and my brother;' all were afraid of him, for they believed that his dead brother was at hand to help him.
- I was once assured by a young naval officer that he had seen putrid flesh upon the natives' arrows. Asked whether he had taken one into his hand to examine it, he replied with disgust that he would not have the thing near him. He probably to this day believes that he has the witness of his own eyes to the truth of the common belief.
- For the origin of these arrows at Maewo see the story of Muesarava. The writer of that story adds, 'And this Maewo toto is exceedingly mana; if it hits any one by chance, without being shot at him, he dies. If it hits any one like that they always take care of salt-water; any one who has eaten what is salt cannot go near the house where the man lies. And there is a filthy custom; if any one has been with a woman he cannot possibly go near; if he goes to-day, the man will die tomorrow.'
- A saw is made in the Banks' Islands by rolling up a strip of bamboo in a spiral form. The name given to this implement, saosao, casts a doubt upon its native origin.
- With reference to the remarks of Dr. Hickson (Naturalist in Celebes, p. 200) and Dr. Guppy (Solomon Islands, p. 151), it should be observed that these floats are used to catch only flying-fish, and that on account of their extreme shyness. In the Solomon Island floats, on which the figure of a bird occurs, the line is wound round the hollow of the bird's back and a projection below made for the purpose. For this the shape of a bird is certainly convenient, and the genius of those people leads them to ornamental forms. The Celebes floats seem certainly to represent those of the Solomon Islands in a remarkable and instructive way.
- The Florida money is smoothly finished; that used in Ysabel and Ulawa is much more rough; a very small and finely-finished kind of great value is made at Haununu in San Cristoval; about 50 discs of this, ⅟₁₆ of an inch in diameter, can be strung upon an inch of thread.
- In Florida 1 dog's tooth is equal in value to 5 porpoise teeth; in San Cristoval 1 dog's is worth 1 or 2 porpoise's, according to quality.
- The discs of Banks' Island money, which differs little in size from that of the Solomon Islands, are about of an inch in diameter. The length of ten upon the string is about an inch. The fine som ta Rowa is not more than of ⅟₁₅ an inch in diameter, and as many as 60 discs go on an inch of string. A puto lakai, rough pearl from a giant clam, when bored with a rat's tooth for stringing, will buy a large pig.
are built very long, and have slight divisions in them, sledom more than twoo feet high.'—Bishop Selwyn, Journal, 1882.