Large wooden drums or gongs, lali, were used to summon people and to communicate specific events. Many different rhythms existed (and some still do) with specific connotations. The caption on this photograph suggests that a death is being announced. Drums were frequently paired for two players, with one large (bass) and one small (treble) drum, and different beats were scored accordingly. The example shown here is a treble drum. Other objects in the image include a throwing club, i-ula tavatava, secured at the waist, and on the ground a large beaked battle hammer, totokia, the head of which referenced a pandanus fruit. The man is wearing a masi barkcloth headscarf or i-sala, symbol of chiefly status.
Reg. Number: P 26.11 27, Fiji Museum
Fiji Museum photograph