Charm (marupai)



A small coconut carved into the shape of an animal's head at one end with a half-open mouth. The half with the face has carved surface decoration infilled with white pigment. The other end has a hole with a fibre cord through it. Reverend John Henry Holmes, who collected this object between 1893 and 1900, writes: 'Those [protective charms}... were dwarf coconuts very finely carved by experts, and worn in small twine bags around the neck when the owner was on a journey, to protect him from the spells of alien sorcerers and the violence of strangers.'