Basket (Egadakua), late 19th–early 20th century
Nauruan people, Nauru, Caroline Islands
Pandanus leaves, fiber, shark's teeth; H. (excluding handle) 3 1/2 in. (8.9 cm)
Gift of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, 1983 (1983.545.1)
In former times, the people of Nauru in the Caroline Islands used small box-shaped baskets, called egadakua, to carry personal items such as drinking cups and containers for precious oils. The baskets were also associated with childbirth, where they were used to hold the implements and substances needed to bring the newborn into the world. Like all the fiber arts on Nauru, egadakua were created by women. The baskets were typically adorned with designs that served as family emblems, indicating the rank and lineage of the bearer. Although the woven portion of this basket is unornamented, the rows of shark teeth that adorn the edges possibly served to indicate the family affiliations of its owner.