In this example of the tema breast ornament the head of the frigate bird takes the form of a ﬁsh, with seven further double ﬁsh-like elements above. Many tema are localised to the Graciosa Bay area of Nidu Island (also known as Ndende or Santa Cruz Island), but it is not clear where they were made, since red feathers, canoes and other valuables circulated throughout the group as part of an extensive exchange network (see Davenport, 1962: 96-7). This example most probably dates to the ﬁrst part of the twentieth century, though the clam shell disc may be older.
Steven Hooper, 1997
Entry taken from Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection, Vol. 2: Pacific, African and Native North American Art, edited by Steven Hooper (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 75.