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.
Of the old-fashioned hooks carved in one piece no actual specimens exist to-day on Funafuti. A few of bone and pearl shell, which had survived till our visit, were carried away by the Expedition, and I am partly dependent for my information upon models of extinct types made for me by old men.
Such hooks were seen by Captain Cook in Tahiti, and the manufacture of them he thus describes:—"The manner of making them is very simple, and every fisherman is his own artificer: the shell is first cut into square pieces, by the edge of another shell, and wrought into a form corresponding with the outline of the hook by pieces of coral, which are sufficiently rough to perform the office of a file; a hole is then bored in the middle, the drill being no other than the first stone they pick up that has a sharp corner: this they fix into the end of a piece of bamboo, and turn it between the hands like a chocolate mill; when the shell is perforated, and the hole sufficiently wide, a small file of coral is introduced, by the application of which the hook in a short time is completed, few costing the artificer more than a quarter of an hour."† Finsch gives a description which corresponds with Cook's, and illustrates his remarks with diagrams of half-made hooks from Nukuor in the Carolines.‡
* In Mariner's Tongan Vocabulary, fist-hook is "matow."
† Cook—loc. cit., p. 219.
‡ Finsch—loc. cit., p. 333, pl. iii. figs. 9, a., b.
Some of the hooks in the Australian Museum, wrought from turtle shell, show evidences of having been bent by heat, but the Funafuti ones seem to have been carved cold.
* Journ. Anthrop. Inst., xxi., 1892, pl. ix., fig. 2.
† Finsch—loc. cit., pl. iii., figs. 5, 6, and 7.
‡ Edge-Partington—loc. cit., ii., pl. xxi.
§ Keate—op. cit., p. 311, pl. ii., fig. 4.