Water carrier, Solomon Islands

Contributed by Anna Craven

This water container is made from a particularly large hollowed out coconut shell, with a carved wooden stopper and intricately plaited and tightly woven sinnet (coconut fibre) carrying harness. Bellona is a small raised coral atoll inhabited about 25 generations ago by Polynesian migrants, according to their oral history. Polynesian migration over the vast Pacific was made possible by the coconut palm: coir from the fruit's outer casing, extracted by soaking in sea water, was plaited into sinnet and used in canoe construction and house building, leaves were used for roofs and woven into baskets, while green coconuts carried on long voyages provided fresh drink and food, any left over being left to germinate for planting and colonising new sites. People's survival depended on them. The Bellonese variety of coconut palms bear large fruit, a quality noticed by Unilevers who took samples to their Malaysian research and development centre to cross with other strains. The palms on Bellona today suffer from disease, which means they are no longer as productive as they were. Many people from the island now live in the suburbs of the capital, Honiara.

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Bellona, Solomon Islands


Possibly 1976


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