Abelam Currency

Archives | Papua New Guinea

Abelam Currency

Papua New Guinea

Yua shell ring currency
Bride wealth

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

Ex collection Todd Barlin, Sydney

Sold
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.
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Kap Kap

oceania | Solomon Islands

Kap Kap

Solomon Islands

Ulute or Papafita ornament
Malaita, Solomon Islands

Carved shell
Early 20th century
Height: 7 cm (2 ¾ in.)

Ex Christie’s Paris 11 Dec. 2007 lot 373
Ex collection Joe Gerena, New York
By descent

Kapkap Malaita - Solomon 7 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
Kapkap were used as adornments and served as a sign of social status. Kapkap were displayed on the occasion of important festivities, rituals or war expeditions. They could be worn as a pendant, as hair or forehead adornments or around the waist.

The highly refined motifs include depictions of frigate birds and geometric patterns.

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Yangoru Boiken
Currency

Archives | Papua New Guinea

Yangoru Boiken
Currency

Papua New Guinea

Large Wamayuwa currency
Bride-wealth shell ring

Carved shell
First part of the 20th century
Diameter : 12 ½ in.(32 cm)

Published: PAD - Paris Tribal 2016
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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 and thickness.
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