Fijian tribesmen used this macabre set of forks to eat the bodies of rival warriors. The pronged antiques date from the 19th century when tribal chiefs devoured their enemies after they had been killed. Their bodies were brought back to the victors’ village by members of the tribe and served to the community and chiefs. Tribal attendants would hand-feed sections of the meat to their leaders with the forks, which were only used on special occasions.
Cannibalism was practised in Fiji for centuries - but faded away in the late 19th century after Christianity was introduced and British colonial rule imposed. To eat an enemy was to inflict the ultimate humiliation on the island, known as the Cannibal Isles. Some victims were kept alive while their body parts were sliced off and cooked in front of them. Skulls were used as drinking bowls, and sexual organs were hung from trees as trophies of victory in battle. Rev Thomas Baker was murdered, cooked and consumed while trying to spread Christianity in Fiji’s rugged highlands in July 1867. Legend has it that Mr Baker, a Methodist minister born in Playden, Sussex, was murdered after breaking a taboo by taking a comb from a chief’s hair. But historians say the real reason was resistance to the spread of Christianity and complex tribal politics