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Narration

Two hundred and three human teeth comprise this necklace from Fiji in Polynesia. Consisting solely of incisors and canines, the teeth are estimated to be from 60 to 100 individuals. Each has been carefully extracted to keep the root whole, then pierced and threaded onto a fiber strand.

Michael Hamson.

MICHAEL HAMSON:
The teeth would have been from people that were killed in battle. It's probably an accumulation of several generations of victims that that particular family killed. It's really about showing how successful they were as warriors. And as almost like a personal affront to their enemies.

Their society was based upon battle and warfare. And cannibalism. It was just a fact that in battle, they would kill people, and they would eat those people.

NARRATOR:
This necklace is only one of the great works of art to be encountered in Spirits and Headhunters gallery. Continue on to explore life in the Pacific and how it was dominated by ancestors and spirits of the natural world.

Step24-Human Tooth Necklace, Polynesia


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