Canoes in the western Solomon Islands were essential to transportation, fishing, and warfare. In former times, they were lavishly adorned. The centerpiece of the prow was a distinctive figurehead, known variously as a nguzu nguzu, musu musu, or toto isu. Attached at the waterline so that it dipped in the sea as the canoe rode the waves, the figurehead reportedly served as a supernatural protector, ensuring safe passage and a successful expedition. The images are typically busts depicted with large heads wearing circular ear ornaments and small arms with the hands raised to the chin or clasping a head or bird. The jutting jaws of the images were reportedly attributes of spirits, and nguzu nguzu are sometimes said to depict, orafford protection from, dangerous sea spirits called kesoko.