Tevau or feathers money

Tevau Pulse para ampliar Tevau. Sala 38, vitrina 38.1

Another form of money

Money can come in many different shapes and sizes, as certain objects prized for their material, ritual or sacred value can become a form of currency. This is the case of tevau or “feather money”, one of the most original types of money. Tevau is a strip of plant fibre about 10 metres long, rolled up on itself in two rings of tree bark and woven with the red feathers of the small Cardinal Myzomela bird. Its value derives from the long, laborious manufacturing process and the procedure’s magical connotations. For this reason, it was only used to make ritual payments, such as bride prices, or purchase very valuable goods like canoes and livestock. Used in the Solomon Islands in Oceania until the nineteen-seventies, tevau was declared a protected cultural heritage asset in nineteen seventy-five and its export has been banned ever since.