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
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.