Old Kina Necklace Mendi Valley Southern Highlands Papua New Guinea
|Size||21 x 15cm|
This beautiful old Shell Pectoral Ornament called Kina is from the Mendi Valley area of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. This shell ornament is made from the Gold Lip Pearl Shell or Pinctada Maximums and is covered in red ochre. Shells in general were highly valued as traditional wealth by the people in the interior of New Guinea where they had to travel through trading from the coast where they were collected to hundreds of kilometres through some of the most rugged terrain on the planet. These were used as an ornament during traditional ceremonies as in the photo of the man wearing one in my photos but they were also used as a traditional currency and often used as bridal dowries paid by a young mans family. This old example you can see the wear on the holes where it was hung by the rope around the neck and the warm patina from wearing and handling over many years and probably generations. When I first went to the Mendi Valley area of Southern Highlands in 1985 these shells seemed reasonably plentiful but by 1988 people in the villages said they were now harder to find and more expensive. This old shell comes in the original bark wallet that these heirlooms are stored in. Some of these date from the 19th to early 20th Century
I bought this Kina Necklace in the Mendi Valley in 1985. I still have a few other old examples for sale and even some on custom made stands so they can sit on a table or shelf to dramatic effect, please ask.
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