Double-figure hook from Fiji

Contributed by University of Aberdeen

Double-figure hook from Fiji © University of Aberdeen

A gift from a Fijian chief to the British governor. One of only four in the world, carved from a sperm whale's tooth.Among the many students of Aberdeen University who travelled the world as colonial servants was Sir William MacGregor. As Chief Medical Officer in Fiji 1875-88, he was given this item by Ro Matanitobua of Namosi, Viti Levu who said that it had been venerated by seven generations of his family. It was probably made by a Tongan craftsman and is one of only three surviving in the world. Born the son of a farm labourer, MacGregor's university education changed his life, taking him to Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Canada, Nigeria and Australia. He donated his collection to the university where it joined many other collections which he hoped would inspire students by showing that there was more to the world than "Aberdeen and twal mile roon".

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