Large, ocean-going canoes, or tomako, in the western Solomons had high prow and stern posts, each of which was surmounted by a pair of figures. Those on the prow looked fore and aft, while others looked to port and starboard at the top of the stern post. The spirits looking after the welfare of the canoe and its crew could see in all directions. Perhaps the most remarkable figure was the nguzunguzu, a carved head with protruding jaws, painted black and decorated with inlaid nautilus shell. It was mounted near the waterline on the prow so that it dipped in and out of the water, on the lookout for hostile water spirits.

Physical Description

A canoe ornament in the form of a human face inlaid with nautilus shell.

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