Yua Shell ring currency

Papua New Guinea

Bride wealth

Carved shell (giant clam shell)
Early 20th century
Height: 9 in. (23 cm)

Ex collection Todd Barlin, Sydney

Price: on request

Melanesia – Papua New Guinea
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Carved from the shell of a giant clam, this spare, circular sculpture was used as bride price on the occasion of a wedding, as an offering or as a form of currency for settling important obligations.
Symbols of wealth and proof of high social status, currency rings were transmitted from generation to generation.
The central hole was pierced using a bamboo tool to abrade it with sand. Weeks of work were necessary to achieve this regular shape and polished aspect visible here.