F.H. Dufty photograph of Ratu Seru Cakobau, Vunivalu of Bau and other high chiefs, seated in front of the same chief’s house at Waikava on the south coast of Vanualevu as features in P.99825.VH, only at the other doorway, which has a rectangular window slot cut through the gasau cane wall panelling alongside the katuba or doorway. This is the prestigious entrance to the house, as evidenced by its position and by the ornamental magimagi or coconut fibre cordage bindings that enwrap the gasau (Miscanthus floridulus) fascines that compose its jambs and lintel.
The occasion is the council of chiefs or bosevakaturaga which the governor, Sir Arthur Gordon, convened at Waikava in November 1876. Ratu Cakobau is seated on a partly folded mat at the head of the ramp leading up to the doorway, wearing a gatuvakatoga wrapper and beaded necklace, and holding a fan. He is sporting the flamboyant whiskers he favoured in 1876 and 1877, and looks like he is pretty full of yaqona. Behind him sits an attendant with a fan. Cakobau’s bearded brother, Ratu Josefa Celua, similarly attired, is sitting astride the log ramp holding a knife. The old moustached chief sitting to his left wearing the white ivauvau headwrapper may be Musudroka, the old Vunivalu of Rewa. He has lost the upper joint of his little finger, probably as a mourning sacrifice in his childhood. Sitting on a mat on the ground second from left, with his beard and Mephistophelian moustache, is Ratu Vuki. Note the qato bracelet above the right elbow of the man sitting to the left of the ramp. [Fergus Clunie, 14/7/2003, updated FC 3/5/2012]

Physical Condition: Print mounted onto card.


Oceania Polynesia; Fiji; South Vanua Levu; Waikava; Fawn Harbour

Cultural Affliation

Named Person

Ratu Seru Cakobau, Vuniivalu of Bau, Tui Viti (formerly spelt as Thakombau); Ratu Josefa Celua; ?Musudroka; Ratu Vuki


Dufty, Francis Herbert (Dufty Brothers, Levuka)

Collector / Expedition

von Hügel, Anatole (Baron)


November 1876

Collection Name

von Hügel Collection


von Hügel, Anatole (Baron)


Print Black & White Mounted

Primary Documentation

Other Information

P.99726.VH to P.100050.VH were in the belted folder now numbered C539/3/. This was formerly kept in paper archive Large Box G; VH1/4/5. It has now been transferred to the photo archive. The lists describing the contents of this box have been returned to the Paper Archive.

MAA Exhibition: The original print was displayed in Chiefs and Grovernors: Art & Power in Fiji, May 2013 - April 2014. [JD 20/04/2014]

Related Image: This print or negative appears to be the original image at MAA from which the associated photographs have been derived from. [JD 26/11/2011]

This print has been catalogued with the support of the Getty Grant Fund. [A Nadin, 10/9/2003]


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