Teavau Feather Money​




scarlett honeyeater feathers
carved wood
shells, cotton
very good original condition

Unique in the archipelago of Santa Cruz in the Solomon Islands, this twisted currency, known as Tevau, gets its bright red hue from the feathers of cardinal honey eaters. Often with a length of 30 feet or more, Tevau was prominently represented at wedding ceremonies as a solemn dowry payment from the groom to the bride's family. Feather money stood for pride, satisfaction and prestige, often in use for political power and authority. The production of Tevau was meticulous and was carried out exclusively by a small and exclusive group of craftsmen whose skills, thought to be spiritually inspired, were hereditary. Each spool of Tevau required more than sixty thousand feathers obtained from about 300 birds.