Comb Item Number: C1415 from the MOA: University of British Columbia

Description

A handle which tapers to a straight edge. The main design along the handle is woven with red and natural-coloured weave in between radial bands of dark brown wood along the lower portion and with natural-coloured and dark brown weave along the upper portion. Forty long teeth fan outward radially. The teeth are secured by a natural-coloured weave between each tooth.

Narrative

The distinctive, finely plaited faa made by the Kwaio women of Malaita Island are traded throughout the Solomon Islands. They are worn by men, often together with similarly plaited ear sticks. The teeth of the faa are made from split sections of the core of tree ferns. The yellow and red pigments used to dye the orchid vine in the plaiting are derived from the bark and root of the Morinda plant, commonly known as noni. Today, these combs are still being made as a source of cash income.