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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.



Pottery, strange to any section of the Polynesian people, was of course absent from the Ellice Group, for not only was the potter's art unknown but his raw material does not even occur there. Neither do gourds (Lagenaria), so serviceable to natives of other Pacific islands, grow in this archipelago. The Ellice Islanders are therefore restricted in the choice of vessels capable of containing fluids to sea-shells, wooden bowls, and coconut shells. The latter, known as "vei'i," are of a handy size and weight, and for convenient portability are often fitted with sinnet casing and handle. Considerable variation exists in the net-work, which in some cases, foreign to the Ellice, is so close as to conceal the surface of the flask.§ Particularly large nuts are especially valued for flasks, and are prepared by stripping off the fibrous husk down to the hard shell; the contents are abstracted by breaking in one "eye," placing the nut in salt water till the kernel decays, and rinsing out the shell. A stopper is readily improvised from a rolled strip of banana or pandanus leaf. The original of fig. 62, from Funafuti, weighs when empty, fifteen ounces, contains three and a half pints, and is eight inches in major diameter and six in minor.
Fig. 62.

Fig. 62.

Flasks are shown on p. 25 receiving toddy. Gill published a sketch of a girl drawing water with one at Vaitupu, as described on p. 60.

Cook particularly remarked of some earthenware that he saw in Tonga, "that it was the manufacture of some other isle." (Second Voyage, i., 1777, p. 214).

§ Gourds, as shown by the frontispiece of Erskine's "Cruise in the Western Pacific," 1853, are likewise sometimes mounted with network.

Gill—Life in the Southern Isles, 1876, p. 141.