Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shell used as communication tool

by Anare Ravula

Fiji Times - Friday, June 25, 2010
A DAVUI used in the 1700s to send messages to the gods during tribal warfare was found during a spiritual healing ceremony at Nakalavo Village in Nadroga last week.
Tabanivono Methodist circuit minister, Reverend Mosese Beranayarayara says the trumpet shell or triton was used by pre-Christian Fijians to call upon the gods.
"This allows the gods to fight against their enemies," he said.
Mr Beranayarayara said during the healing, villager Aporosa Namisi's family testifies that they continuously suffered from unexplained illnesses which began four generations ago.
"I told them during the healing they must have kept an item that their forefathers used during their worship to the kalou-vu (ancestral gods)," he said.
He said one of the women said there was a davui on one of the shelves which always attracted her attention whenever she carried out her home chores.
"Little did they know that was cause of their illness over the years from their forefathers until now," he said.
He said Mr Namisi explained the shell was used by his forefathers four generations ago.
Gau native Osea Moce said he had only seen a picture of the davui at the Levuka historical exhibition house at the old capital of Fiji in Ovalau.
"Seeing it here with my naked eyes is a wonder," he said.
"I wonder how the message was relayed to the gods."
Attached to the pointed end of the davui is the magimagi (coconut sinnet) which is plaited in a hose pipe-like shape.
It is believed that the hollow part carried the message that had been blown out to flow through the passage into the thin air reaching the gods.
Upon receiving the message the gods would in turn fight off the enemies that tried to invade the village or the vanua.
After the spiritual cleansing, Mr Beranayarayara took the davui to the Fiji Museum which houses an extensive archeological collection dating back 3700 years and relics of Fiji's indigenous cultural history.
Fiji Museum registrar Sela Rayawa confirmed the davui was brought in and Mr Beranayarayara signed a Deed of Absolute Gift allowing its preservation.
"We will now conduct an investigation to confirm its background history," Mr Rayawa said.
Mr Rayawa said this was the third such gift received by the Fiji Museum.

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