Oceania

Yangoru Boiken Currency

Papua New Guinea

Large Wamayuwa currency
Bride-wealth shell ring

Carved shell (Giant clam shell)
Early 20th century or earlier
Height: 10 ¼ in. (26 cm)
Length: 12 ½ in. (32 cm)

Ex collection Wayne Heathcote

Price: on request

Melanesia – Papua New Guinea
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Carved from the sub-fossil shell of a giant clam, the Tridacna gigas, this spare, circular sculpture was called Wamayuwa. It 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, Wamayuwa 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.
Of great purity in form and material, this ring currency is distinguished by its exceptional size, age and thickness.