Object photography

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Object description

  • Fijian artist
  • Bure kalou (spirit house), early 19th century
  • Coconut fiber, wood, shell
  • Fiji (Viti)
  • H: 44 in, W: 25 in, D: 21 in (H: 111.8 cm, W: 63.5 cm, D: 53.3 cm)
  • Gift of Joseph Winn Jr., 1835
  • E5037


East India Marine Society Collection


This Fijian spirit house is intricately woven out of coconut fiber and decorated with shells. The spirit house has a double peaked roof surmounted by two wooden carrying handles wrapped in shells. There is a single door into the spirit house. In Fiji, bure kalou were an important feature of a village temple, providing a house for the temple's ancestral god or spirit. Priests used spirit houses in divination rituals. The intricate weaving characteristic of these structures was the exclusive domain of Fijian men.

Exhibition History

  • Upcoming Exhibition, Peabody Essex Museum; 2015 through Present