The Atoll of Funafuti, Ellice group : its zoology, botany, ethnology and general structure based on collections made by Charles Hedley of the Australian Museum, Sydney, N.S.W.
Weapons and Tools
Weapons and Tools.
As previously stated on p. 45, the Ellice Group has enjoyed peace so long that not only have the making and handling of weapons fallen into disuse, but all instruments of war have now disappeared. No exact account of these seems to have been preserved in literature. Shark tooth knives were described to me by old men and are recorded by early travellers. Figures of such in the Ethnological Album* are referred with doubt by Edge-Partington to the Ellice Group.
In the absence of extinct originals, models locally made are of some interest. An aged, white-haired, and tatooed native of Funafuti made for me such of two weapons as previously used by his tribe:—
A missile, "apa," (fig. 14) is a smooth, spindle-shaped piece of hard, heavy wood, probably Pemphis, sharply pointed at each end. It weighs one pound five ounces, and measures two feet in length and one and three quarter inches in greatest diameter. In battle it was thrown at an enemy, and was probably capable of inflicting an ugly wound upon a naked foe. The Tahitians had "the tiora, a polished dart about three feet long, cast from the hand generally in the naval engagements, but occasionally on land." † From the Gilbert Group, Edge-Partington figures a missile club, "goramaton," similar to this.‡ An Australian weapon, "konnung,"§ closely resembles this pattern in use and appearance. Indeed so simple an article might be expected to independently recur in different quarters of the world.
* Loc. cit., i, pl. xxxvii., figs. 6-11; pl. xxxviii., figs. 1-5; Additional Notes; ii., pl. lxxxix., fig. 8.
† Ellis—op. cit., i., p. 298.
‡ Id, loc. cit., ii., pl. xcv., fig. 12.
§ Brough Smyth—loc. cit., p. 302, fig. 64; and R. Etheridge, Junr.—Macleay Memorial Volume, 1893, p. 240.
‖ Of. Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 16.
The lakautaua is of hard wood, probably Pemphis; it weighs one pound three ounces, and measures one foot seven inches in length, and two and a half inches in breadth.
Among the Penrhyn Islanders, Lamont remarked that:—"The long, light, paddle-shaped club used by the women is called 'coerarai,' and is used in battle principally for breaking the spears of the men of the opposite party."†
The rough sketch and brief notice do not admit of satisfactory identification, but a species of lakautaua is suggested to me by a drawing‡ in the Ethnological Album, described as a "flat wooden fan, stained black in places: Tokelau Island, Union Group." Should "fan" be a grimly ironical misnomer for a messenger of death, the black stains may be those of human blood. The probable inaccuracy of the ethnological statement is countenanced by the geographical confusion of this quotation.
A club figured by Edge-Partington§ as from Fiji, has several features in common with the Funafuti model, such as the proportion of handle to blade, and the raised central keel and distal truncation of the latter. Perhaps one of a group of articles figured by Wilkes from the Kingsmills stands for another.‖
* Such as Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. lxxiv., fig. 2.
† "Lamont—Wild Life among the Pacific Islanders, 1867, p. 133.
‡ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. xcvi., fig. 3.
§ Loc. cit., ii., pl. liv., fig. 1.
‖ Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 79, the object lying furthest left.
Adzes and Axes.
In 1773 Captain Cook found iron already in the hands of the South Sea Islanders. The process, then commencing, of replacing stone, shell, and bone with metal is now completed. For there is not an island, however remote, in Polynesia where non-metallic adzes are any longer used, only the remembrance of them existing in the minds of the oldest natives.
The collection of Ellice adzes and axes falls into two divisions, the ancient, non-metallic and extinct types represented by models, and those now in use in which a metal blade has been adapted to the ancient tool. Stone blades being obviously unattainable, the models of ancient adzes were set with shell ones. In every case the shell was Tridacna, though it is probable that in Funafuti, as elsewhere in the Pacific, other mollusca such as Mitra episcopalis, or Terebra maculata, would sometimes furnish adze-heads.page 250
The Tridacna shell, particularly the thick part near the hinge, was in former times highly and widely esteemed for this purpose, as is recorded by Keate from the Pelews,* by Finsch from the Carolines, Marshalls, and Gilberts,† by Guppy from the Solomons,‡ by Dixon from Malden Island, § by Wilkes from the Paumotus, ‖ by Moseley from the Admiralties;¶ and from Nanomea in the Ellice itself Finsch obtained a specimen of a Tridacna axe.
It would hardly have been anticipated that natives, like the Solomon and Pelew Islanders, in the possession of hard volcanic rock would have thus used this material, but Finsch repeatedly remarks that the greater toughness of the shell gives it an advantage over the more brittle stone.**
In the Carolines the same author found the Tridacna blades to assume various shapes, of which he figures a broad deltoid and a narrow chisel form.† Some of these attain an immense size, reaching twenty inches in length and ten pounds in weight; such, he says, were common property.
Describing relics of the race who formerly inhabited Malden Island, Mr. W. A. Dixon writes:—"In the grave was a hatchet head with polished edge made from the shell of a tridacna… In many places there were numerous axe heads chipped roughly out of tridacna shells. These are tolerably easily made, the shell being first broken transversely, when a blow on the fractured surface breaks out from the interior of the shell an adze-shaped piece which seems to me to be the pattern on which many of the South Sea stone adzes are formed."‡‡
These tools are thus described by Keate, from the Pelews:—"Their hatchets were not unlike those of the South Sea Islands, the blade part being made of the strongest part of the large Kima Cockle, ground to a sharp edge…. Uncouth as their hatchets might appear to our people, it was a matter of surprise to observe in how little a time the natives were able to fell a tree with them, though not without breaking several." §§
* Keate—An Account of the Pelew Islands, 1788, p. 312.
† Finsch—Ann. K. K. Naturhist. Hofmus., viii., 1893, p. 65.
§ Dixon—Journ. Roy. Soc. N.S.W., ix., 1877 (1878) p. 175.
‖ Wilkes—op. cit.
¶ Challenger Reports—Narative, i., pt. ii., 1885, p. 716.
** "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. "Codrington—The Melanesians, 1891, p. 314.
† Finsch—op. cit., p. 214, figs. 36-38.
‡‡ Dixon—op. cit.
§§ Keate—op. cit., p. 312.
The model on which is based fig. 16, has a handle sixteen inches long, the shape of that of the ordinary plane iron adze. A short limb, six inches in length, departs from the handle at an angle of about thirty-five degrees, on the outer distal side of which the adze head is let in. Flat sinnet, interlaced as shown in the figure, binds this on firmly. The head itself is a rough deltoid chip, three inches long, two broad, and half an inch thick, from the valve of Tridacna squamosa, the inner face of the valvebeing applied to the wood, while upon the outer the ridges, furrows, and scales can still be distinguished; a blunt chisel edge is produced by grinding the outer surface. This tool was known in Funafuti as the "toki fasua" (lit. Tridacna Adze).
* In Papua the ceremonial tools seem all axes, not adzes. Finsch figures a hoop-iron axe from the Dentrecasteaux;—Ethnol. Atlas, pl, i., fig. 8.
The model represented in fig. 17, has for handle a round, fairly straight stick, sixteen inches long and an inch thick. At the distal end a groove three and a half inches long and a quarter of an inch deep is cut to receive the head. This is a trapezoid piece of turtle (Chelone midas) cara-pace, six and a half inches long and, across the blade, four broad, which is ground on its inner surface to a chisel edge; the proximal end is pierced with two circular holes, through which pass the strands of sinnet that firmly bind the head to the handle.
* Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pls. xiv., cxxxii.; ii., pl. xciv.
† Again (Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv.) a turtle-shell axe from Matty Island is described as used in battle. The intrinsic evidence of the description is not convincing, since an edge which would not slice cheese is said to slice flesh. This Matty Island axe seems to me designed for lopping pandanus fruit from the tree. In this paper the race inhabiting Matty Island is not classified. A comparison of the articles described there with those of Funafuti forcibly suggests to me a Polynesian source.
‡ Ellis—Polynesian Researches, i, 1832, p. 177, fig.
§ Edge-Partington—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv., 1896, pl. xxiv., figs. 11, 12.
The Rotatory Adze is constructed with such mechanical ingenuity that it is difficult to believe it to be an indigenous possession of a people so low in the state of civilisation as the subject of our study.§ From negative evidence I judge that the Rotatory Adze formed no part of the Polynesian heritage, but that its presence in Funafuti is due to that inter-course with the Gilberts which conferred so many benefits upon the southern archipelago. ‖
For a contrivance of so much interest the Rotatory Adze appears to have attracted scanty notice in ethnological literature. The mechanical principle of this tool has in the Pacific developed three expressions.
* Keate—op. cit., plate facing p. 55.
† Moseley—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., vi., 1877, pl. xxiii., fig. 2.
‡ Moseley—Challenger Reports—Narrative, i., pt. ii.,1885, p.716, fig. 247.
‖ But the following sentence in a description of Hawaiian tools indicates apparently that the Rotatory Adze existed there. "In a form much used for the interior work of a canoe, the stone is so mounted as to turn to one side or the other, thus becoming, as needed, a right or left-hand adze."—Cat. Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum" pt. i., 1892, p. 43.
|(I.)||The Western Papuans make a club-shaped adze-handle, through a perforation in the thick end of which is thrust the mounted stone adze-head, the latter rotating as required in the perforation.* The Australian Museum possess a series of this pattern, collected by the Expedition of the Geographical Society of Australasia to the Fly River, and also an instance from Hermit Island to the west of the Admiralty Islands.†|
|(II.)||The second type, possessed by the Eastern Papuans, has been described by Finsch,‡ who states that it is called "lachela" on the South Coast of British New Guinea, and "ki," or "kis" in Finschhafen, German New Guinea. Here the stone blade is firmly attached to a wooden cone, the wood and stone together constituting the moveable adze-head, the upper surface of the short limb of the adze-handle is sloped and hollowed to receive the cone of the adze-head, and both cone and limb are embraced in a wide band or sleeve of woven rattan. When it is desired to rotate the blade, the butt of the adze head, which usually projects beyond the adze-handle, is tapped and slides forward, the adze-head is then turned to the required angle and thrust back into the rattan sleeve. Every subsequent blow, by driving the cone along and up the wedge of the short arm of the handle, tends to jamb the adze-head tighter into the rattan sleeve.§|
|(III)||To the third expression, employed by the Micronesians, belongs the Funafuti tool, which invited attention to the foregoing; the only reference to this, known to me in literature, is more than a century old. Keate,‖ writing of the Pelew Islands, remarks that, "they had also another kind of hatchet, which was formed in a manner to move round in a groove, that the edge might act longitudinally, or transversely, by which it would serve as a hatchet, or an adze, as occasion required." He also gives an elaborate engraving of this tool with the legend, "A moveable Hatchet." On comparing Keate's picture and account with Finsch's sketch of a Tridacna adze from Kusaie (Carolines)¶ I am
* This type is figured by Jukes—Voyage of the "Fly," i. 1847, plate facing p. 274; by D'Albertis—New Guinea, ii., 1880, figs. 6 and 11 of plate facing p. 378; by Finsch—Ethnological Atlas, pl. i., fig. 5; and by Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. ccxcviii., fig. 1.
† Moseley figures and describes—loc. cit., ii., p. 717, fig. 249,—an axe from the Admiralty Islands, of which the blade was "merely jammed in a slot cut in a club-like billet of hard wood near its end." Other relations between the Fly River and Northern Papuans are referred to by Haddon—Cunningham Memoirs, x., 1894, p. 84.
‡ Finsch—op. cit., iii., 1888, p. 328, fig. 36; vi., 1891, p. 71; also Ethnol. Atlas, pl. i., figs. 4, 7.
§ In an unfigured and undescribed type from New Britain, the shorter limb of the adze-handle tapers to a point and is received by a socket of wood and cane attached to the blade.
‖ Keate—An Account of the Pelew Islands, 1788, p. 312, pl. ii., fig. 3.
¶ Finsch—op. cit., viii., 1893, p. 215, fig. 39.
* Finsch—Ethnol. Atlas, pl. 1, fig. 7.
† Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. xv., fig. 5.
‡ Loc. cit., ii., pl. xciii., fig. 3;i., pl. ccc, fig. 3; pl. ccclxxx., fig. 3; pl. clxii. fig. 4.
Perhaps the only existing people who do not practise perforation by drilling are the Australian Aborigines, who however incidentally drilled holes in the process of making fire. The Polynesians are much more advanced.
The Pump Drill of the West Pacific never fails to elicit expressions of surprise and admiration from those who first see it used by the natives. So attractive a subject has naturally received due attention from travellers, and as several good figures of it have already appeared, I need not here burden literature with more.
The pump drill seems to have been an evolution from the simple shaft drill, from which it arose by easy and natural improvements. The simple shaft drill, as the older and simpler form, was wider spread in space consequent on its superior antiquity allowing it the greater chance of passing from people to people to remoter limits. When European civilisation invaded the Pacific and commenced to deaden the progress of native manners and customs, the pump drill was probably overtaking and replacing the simple shaft drill on the periphery of an out-rippling circle.
* For an account of the pump drill beyond the geographical limits of the present article, see J. D. McGuire—A Study of the primitive methods of Drilling—Report of the U.S. National Museum, 1894, (1896) p. 733.
* Brigham—loc. tit., pt iii., p. 31.
† Morse—Japanese Homes, 1888, p. 40.
‡ Voy. Uranie et Physicienne, 1829, pl. 46.
§ Cook—First Voyage, ii., 1773, p. 219; Last Voyage, i., 1785, pp. 160 and 395.
‖ Chapman—Trans. N. Z. Inst., xxiv., 1891 (1892) p. 499. Another type is figured, loc. cit., pl. xxviii.
Perhaps the earliest account we have of the pump drill of the Pacific is the excellent engraving and description of one procured from Fakaafu by the American Expedition on the occasion of their discovery of that island, † Turner fully describes this drill and its use in Samoa,‡ and a Samoan example is figured by Edge-Partington. § At Treasury Island, Solomons, Dr. Guppy saw Mule, the chief, using a pump drill for "piercing the holes for the rattan-like thongs in the planks of his canoe."‖ Edge-Partington supplies an illustration of a pump drill with a stone point and a turtle fly-wheel from Malayta, Solomons;¶ and Codrington describes certain disks as "drilled with a pump drill, in Florida 'puputa,'in San Christoval 'nono."'** Its existence in British New Guinea is attested by D'Albertis, who figures one from Naiabui;‡ by Stone, who figures and describes another from Port Moresby;‡ and by Edge-Partington, who figures a third from Kerepunu;§§ the two latter are peculiar in the substitution of a bar for a fly-wheel. In 1890, I observed a native in the village of Toulon Island engaged in making beads from Strombus shells with the aid of a pump drill. "The rotatory drill was known to the Hawaiians; before the advent of iron the point of a Terebra shell served for borer, but in modern times a triangular file was generally used.ǁ
* Turner—-Samoa, 1884, p. 169.
† Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 18, fig.
‡ Turner—loc. cit., p. 169.
§ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. lxxvii., fig. 1.
‖ Guppy—loc. cit., p. 76.
¶ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl. cei., fig. 3.
** Codrington—The Melanesians, 1891, p. 325,
‡ D'Albertis—loc. cit., pl. facing p. 378, fig. 19.
‡ Stone—A Few Months in New Guinea, 1883, p. 72, fig.
§§ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii,, pl. 174, fig. 4.
No drills, I believe, existed on Funafuti at the date of our arrival. The natives were, however, well acquainted with the tool and described them to me as formerly in use pointed with Terebra maculata and Mitra episcopalis; a clumsy model of one, pointed with a fragment of Pteroceras, was made on the island for one of our party. On Fakaafu, Lister saw a drill pointed with a sea urchin's tooth. On the neighbouring atoll of Nukulailai I was able to secure a specimen in actual use. Here it was called "milli," and was chiefly employed in making pearl-shell fish-hooks. This specimen weighs six and a half ounces, measures twenty-one inches in total length, is fitted half-way with a fly-wheel four and a half inches in diameter and three-quarters of an inch thick of European or American deal, from one end a rod a foot long is swung from nine inch long sinnet cords, and to the other end is lashed a pointed, steel, triangular, saw-file.*
* Since the preceding pages were printed off, a figure and description (Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxvi., 1897, p. 433) of the New Caledonian drill, therein mentioned, have reached me, † Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 17.
Woodwork, trimmed into shape by the adze, received a finish from the rasp, "jiri," made of the rough skin of the Ray. An unmounted fragment, such as a piece of the tail, sometimes served, but more usually the skin was neatly mounted on a wooden handle.
The Funafuti specimen of which figs. 21 and 22 give back and front views, weighs three and a page 260half ounces, and is eleven inches long by two and three-quarters wide. The sheet of ray skin is six inches by four, and is sewn together at the back with fine sinnet. The bleached condition of the wooden handle shows it to be drift wood, and the weight and grain agrees with that of red cedar (Cedrela toona).
Rasps were also improvised out of a rough piece of coral.
‡ Edge Partington—loc. cit., i, pl. clxiii., fig. 9; ii., pl. lxxxvi., fig. 3.
§ Lamont—op. cit., p. 155.
‖ Cook—A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, i, 1784, p. 395.
The literary history of the spade in the Pacific is both brief and obscure.*
An article is represented in the Ethnographical Album,† which Dr. Gill describes as "the ancient spade of the Mangaiians, always used in a squatting posture, also used (and intended to be used) as a club "; Edge-Partington further figures a series‡ described in the margin as "steering paddles,"§ but which are indexed as "spades"; from Fiji a spade-blade of tortoiseshell, bored for lash-ing to a handle, is represented; ‖ from Samoa is shown¶ an instrument referred to as a "spade (?) of Pinna shell"; and from Tonga a Meleagrina margaritifera valve, bored and similarly mounted on a pole, is classified as a "spade(?)"*
On Fakarava, Paumotu Group, Stolpe obtained a "model of spade wherewith aforetime they buried their dead. The model, which is of the actual size, consists of a staff, with a great pearl mussel shell fast bound to either end by coconut plaiting. The entire implement is 146 cm. long."†
* For remarks on the use of agricultural implements in New Zealand, see Polack—Manners and Customs of the New Zealanders, ii., 1840, p. 194; and in Australia, R. Etheridge, Juur.—Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W., ix., (2), 1894 (1895), pp. 109-112.
† Edge-Partington—op. cit. i., pl. v., fig. 6.
‡ Id., loc. cit., pl. xxxvi., figs. 1-3.
§ All the steering paddles that I have seen were carved solid in one piece, and the frailty of the specimens drawn suggests to me that he-who ticketed these articles "steering paddles" had not acquired his lore in the salt air and sunshine of the Southern Seas. For he had surely never seen a steering paddle jammed hard down with all the force of the brown steersman's arm and watched the surging water straining it as the tall and tasselled prow swung slowly up to windward.
‖ Edge-Partington—op. cit., pl. cxix., fig. 12.
¶ Id., loc. cit., ii., pl. xliv., fig. 3.
* Id., loc. cit., ii., pl. 1., fig. 9.
† Trans. Rochdale Lit. and Scientific Soc, iii., 1893, p. 112.
Though the peculiar method of mounting the blade by boring and lashing to the pole, may be useful as a clue in distinguishing the Pacific spade, it cannot be regarded as a feature separating it from other implemeats. A type of New Caledonian axe† shares this character, and in the Gilbert Group the paddles are made in this way, as Wilkes has shown‡ and Finsch confirmed.§ With the Gilbert paddle agrees another figured from the Admiralty Islands by Moseley,‖ and a specimen from Anchorite Island in the Australian Museum. Indeed the Pacific spade suggests for itself a polyphyletic origin from the paddle of the Gilbert Islander, the club of the Mangaiian, or the axe of the New Caledonian.
In the Ellice, two agricultural implements existed. A species of mattock, resembling an adze of which the minor limb was lengthened and armed with turtle carapace, was obtained by one of the officers of H.M.S. "Penguin," on Funafuti. A cognate tool is mentioned by Pinschfrom Mortlock Island.¶ Another of our party Fig. 23. also procured some indifferent models of a spade, or long-handled shovel, on Funafuti, where their use had been long abandoned and their place taken by metal bladed substitutes.
* Cook—A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean,, i., 1785, p. 392. A Maori spade and hoe are figured by Taylor—New Zealand and its inhabitants, 1870, pp. 360, 423; and the Hawaiian by Ellis—loc. cit., iv., p. 195.
† Edge-Partington—op. cit., i., pl. cxxviii., fig. 3.
‡ Wilkes—loc. cit., v., p. 52, fig.
§ Finsch—loc. cit., viii., 1893, p.70, fig.12.
‖ Moseley—Journ Anthrop. Inst., vi., 1877, pl. xxii.
The method of using this instrument on Funafuti is shown in the accompanying sketch(Plate xiv.), for which I am indebted to my friend Mr. Norman Hardy. In Matty Island it appears that the operator does not sit, but stands on the instrument and stoops to his work.
The wooden holder whose worn and discolored appearance indicates a respectable antiquity, consists of a cone departing at page 263half a right angle from a straight board, all being in one piece of a kind of hard, white wood unknown to me. The board or seat is eighteen inches long, an inch thick, three inches wide at the end, and four at the elbow. The cone is six inches long, and tapers from two and a half inches at the base to an inch at the summit. On the upper side it is excavated to receive the blade. A spoon-shaped fragment, four inches long and two wide, from the columella of the "karea" shell (Pterocera lambis), ground to a chisel edge on the outer side, constitutes the blade, which is retained in position by interlaced lashing of sinnet, like that of the adze. The weight of this implement is one pound eight ounces. Upon an emergency a twaikarea might be used, I was informed, as a substitute for the toki fasua.
Somewhat different are the coconut scrapers figured and described from Matty Island, in German New Guinea.*
An homologous utensil, "kamdjoo," consisting of an armed stick sloping in a fork stuck in the ground, is recorded from the Ladrones.†
Of this latter type a specimen from the Marshall Islands, set with a blade of hard coconut shell, is contained in the Australian Museum. This form was probably steadied by the knee when in use. The localities suggest that it will prove a characteristic of Micronesia.
The article just described is intended only for scraping the kernel of the coconut shell which has become firm and thick with age. Another kind of scraper is used to prepare pap for infants' food from the soft kernel of the half-grown nut. The latter kind seems to be in common use over a wide area and usually takes the shape of a slip of pearl shell an inch or two inches broad and twice as long, having the broader end finely serrated. Some I collected at Mita, Milne Bay, British New Guinea, were called there "kahi." From the Solomons, Edge-Partington figures two examples,‡ the former from New Georgia being etched pictorially on the concave face. Finsch illustrates another from Finsch-haven, German New Guinea.§ On Penrhyn Island:—" With a piece of mother-of-pearl, called a 'tuè' some six inches long, and tapering to a point, and about two broad at the base, where it is nicked like a saw, they scrape the meat very fine. This they do by placing a half nut between their legs, pressing the edge down with the left thumb, holding the è like a pen, in the right hand, page 264and scraping from the edge downwards, the left forefinger pressing on and assisting the others in the operation."**
To this category probably belongs a Fijian article sketched by Edge-Parting-ton† described in the margin as a "taro spade of bone," but corrected by Sir Arthur Gordon in "Additional Notes "to" implement of turtle bone used for preparing puddings."
A scoop was occasionally improvised from a valve of the common Asaphis deflorata.
* Edge-Partington—Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxv., 1896., p. 294, pl. xxiv., figs. 7, 8.
† Freyeinet—Voyage Uranie et Physicienne, ii., 1829., pp. 313 and 447, pl. lxxix., fig. 2.
‡ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. ci., fig. 12; pl. cxii., fig. 8.
§ Ethnological Atlas, 1880, p. 26, pl. v., fig. 8.
** Lamont-—loc. cit., p. 117.
† Edge-Partington—loc. cit., i., pl, cxix., fig. 16; see also ii.j pl. lix., fig. 7.