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Fiji Arts and Crafts

Incredible Fijian Arts and Crafts

Fiji’s arts and crafts are a replication of the country’s Polynesian and Melanesian heritage. Fiji is a culture renowned for its arts and craft and is the biggest selling souvenirs for visitors. Usually, women’s crafts and men’s crafts are separate, the women oversee pottery and the men woodcarving.

Weaving materials are mainly found from coconut and pandanus leaves, the taming of which takes a surprising amount of work and contributes to its special place with the Fijian people and tourists. Craftswomen from Fiji are also known for making tapa, or masi, which is fashioned out of the bark of mulberry trees and then decorated with black and rust-coloured designs, often times with stencils representing a particular village or family for symbolic purposes.

The most common pieces are woven baskets, mats and carved wooden figures, all of which are readily available at the handicraft markets around Fiji. Artifacts are not only made for the tourist trade, but also for local use and traditional ceremonies.

The Tanoa drinking bowl, used for serving kava, Fiji’s national drink, is the most common woodcarved item available for purchase are made by male artisans in Fiji, meanwhile they are mostly famed for their stunning woodcarving work. Traditionally, the woodcarving techniques and designs were used for fashioning items, such as cannibal forks, yaquona vessels and spears and clubs used in warfare.
The advertising of arts and culture and the preservation of traditional crafts are a significant part of Fiji’s development strategy. Tapa cloth is another of the Pacific’s most popular materials and is used for both the tourist trade and in ceremonies. Growing in popularity with contemporary art, tapa can now also be found in fine wall hangings, cards, wrapping and other decorations.

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