Fijian ritual cannibal fork offered at Duke's

A Fijian ritual cannibal fork is one of the more intriguing lots on offer at Duke's September 15 fine art sale in Dorchester, UK.

The piece was acquired by a Captain JP Luce in the 1850s, reports Blackmore Vale Magazine.

Cannibal fork Dukes
A British naval officer acquired the fork in Fiji in the 1850s

Fiji has an especially dark history among world nations.

The people who made up its first inhabitants are believed to have turned to cannibalism on their long sea voyage to the islands.

From then on human flesh became an everyday part of their diet - due in part to a lack of large animals to eat.

Its consumption was often highly ritualised.   

In fact, cannibalism was so normalised that ordinary people were expected to greet chieftains with the words "eat me".

There's even a Guinness World Record for the most prolific cannibal. It was awarded to Chief Ratu Udre Udre, who is believed to have consumed up to 1,000 people in the 1800s.

The practice is believed to have died out in the 1840s, when missionaries preaching Christianity arrived on the islands.

The grim cutlery offered in the sale, known locally as an "ai cula ni bokola", would have been used to pass pieces of meat directly into the mouth of the tribe's elites.

It's accompanied by a ladle.

The lot is offered with an estimate of £800-1,500 ($1,066-2,000), although it will probably sell for significantly more, such is its rare and extraordinary nature.

In 2013, a complete set of forks sold for £29,440 ($39,250), up 1,740% on an estimate of £1,600 ($2,133).

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