Ancient Shell Wealth Rings Sepik River Papua New Guinea
|Collection No.||Twelve Shell Rings Collection|
|Size||6cm to 12cm diameter|
The ancient Shell Wealth Rings called yua are from the Abelam and Boiken area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. These were cut by sand and bamboo friction method and then shaped by hand using traditional tools. Over the 38 years of collection Oceanic Art & traditional wealth ornaments, whenever I found an exceptional old Shell Ring I put them into a special collection drawer where I saved them. Each one of this shells rings are not only very old but each has a special feature , i always kept the slight asymmetrical shell rings that are not perfect circles & their depth was irregular too. Now I am ready to sell this small collection & hope it goes to a person who will really appreciate their great beauty and age. Some of these rings are 19th Century but others are much older.
These Shell Rings still remain an important form of wealth among the Abelam people. Ceremonial valuables, Yua were displayed or exchanged as part of most major rituals and rites of passage. At birth, a ring is presented to the child’s maternal uncle, who later will help guide him through the complex male initiation cycle. At marriage, the groom presents Yua to the bride’s parents, the number he is able to give becoming a lifelong source of pride. At death, gifts of Yua to maternal relatives help ease the passage of the spirit to the afterlife. Shell rings also play an integral role in ceremonial life. They are displayed during male initiation, the dedication of
men’s ceremonial houses, and other occasions, as symbols of the strength and wealth of the community. The rings are so prized that a man, wishing to emphasise another man’s status or his affection for him, will address him as wuna yua (my ring).
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Papua New Guinea Art & Ornaments and Oceanic Art & Ornaments
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