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Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-2389
Size Length 75cm
Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea
Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea
Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea
Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea
Chief’s Boars Tusk and Shell Money Necklace Tufi Area Oro Province Papua New Guinea

This beautiful old Chief’s Boars Tusk & Shell Money Necklace is from the Tufi area in Oro Province of Papua New Guinea.

Boars tusks especially full circle or almost full circle boars tusk are an important type of traditional wealth and currency in Papua New Guinea & the rest of Melanesia; Vanuatu, The Solomon Islands & New Caledonia and Fiji.

The pink red shell money discs made of pink spondylus shell discs are also highly valued as traditional wealth in The Oro Province and Milne Bay Province.  Traditional wealth objects like this necklace could be used for paying bridal dowries or compensation for disputes of land or other types of traditional compensation.

In the Milne Bay Province wealth necklaces like this example were used in the complex Kula trading circle that built life time trading partners & commitments between a large groups of small islands in the Milne Bay Province . Kula valuables traded purely for purposes of enhancing one’s social status and  prestige. Carefully prescribed customs and traditions surround the ceremonies that accompany the exchanges which establish strong, ideally lifelong relationships between the exchange parties (karayta’u, “partners”). The act of giving is a display of the greatness of the giver, accompanied by shows of exaggerated modesty in which the value of what is given is actively played down. Such a partnership involves strong mutual obligations such as hospitality, protection and assistance.  Kula valuables never remain for long in the hands of the recipients; rather, they must be passed on to other partners within a certain amount of time, thus constantly circling around the ring. However, even temporary possession brings prestige and status. Important chiefs can have hundreds of partners while less significant participants may only have fewer than a dozen.

Provenance: the late David Baker (1943-2009 ) he was the president of The Oceanic Arts Society of Australia and was a great collector, expert & supporter of Oceanic Art & Cultures.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art and Oceanic Art and Artefacts

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