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Fiji Islands: Incantation of Yangona, or Kava Bowl c1882

Fiji Islands: Incantation of Yangona, or Kava Bowl c1882

by The Illustrated London News

Antique print of the most sacred Fijian ceremony.

Ratuh Timoce, second son of the abdicated King Thakumbau, presenting the yangona, or bowl of kava, to Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales at Levuka during their British flying Squadron's visit to the Fiji Islands in September 1882. "In the foreground of the scene is a heap of presents, consisting of yams, cocoanuts, pineapples, bananas, fowls, pigs, turtle, and the kava root."

Original wood engraving published for The Illustrated London News c1882 (with fine later hand-colour). The Illustrated London News was the first graphic newspaper. Set up in 1842 it was popular because of the woodblock illustrations of news from around the world. Illustrations were always avidly collected and often enhanced by watercolour - which usually adds to their value.

Kava root is chewed by young women and spat into a large bowl. A quantity of water is added by a native who is selected for his skill in mixing and then straining it through fibre. During the preparation of kava others from his tribe chant an incantation, accompanied by graceful swaying of their bodies and arms, keeping wonderful time with their movements. When ready, the beverage is handed first to his father, Thakumbau, then to the English Princes, to the Admiral, to the Governor, and to other persons of rank. (I assure you that it does not taste nice - but of course I was honoured to have been invited.. over 40 years ago.)

Page size varied over the years. Approximately 40 x 27cm (15.75 x 10.5 inches).

Stock Number: apFijji5Price: $195.00