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Fishhook (Solomon Islands)

This is a Fishhook.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of Natural History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Before 1917. Its medium is carved mother-of-pearl.

Known by different names in the languages of the Solomon Islands—to’oheo in Sa’a and Ulawa and toheo in Uki/Ugi and Arosi—this type of shell fishhook was employed to catch mackerel, sardines, and other small oceangoing fish. Today, industrially manufactured metal hooks and lures have replaced them. This V-shaped hook was cut from a shell with either metal or stone tools; four small roundels were etched into the hook’s sides and then darkened with a resin. Once done, men attached the finished hook to a line affixed to a length of bamboo. From a platform built over a reef, the fishermen moved the hook up and down in the water to mimic the movements of a small fish. Making and using this hook required a great deal of virtuosity.

It is credited Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E399982.

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Our curators have highlighted 9 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 1.1 x 2.9 x 0.3 cm (7/16 x 1 1/8 x 1/8 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Fishhook (Solomon Islands) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=8 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>