Spool Type Shell Bangle Sulka Tribe New Britain Papua New Guinea
|Size||Left to Right Diameter 12cm, 11cm, 10.5cm|
These old spool form Shell Bangles are Wealth Ornaments from the Sulka People of East New Britain Province Papua New Guinea. These beautiful old Shell Wealth Ornaments are 19th Century examples. I have seen the people in the Solomon’s are making modern version of these and they are machine made and look modern. These three objects were made the traditional way of using bamboo and sand friction to cut and shape which took months of hard work. All three fine examples the largest heavy one is 12cm diameter and quite thick and heavy. The other two are 11cm & 10.5cm in diameter and the quality is similar. These were collected in the early 209th Century. They date from the 19th Century and guarantee that.
Shell Bangles were not worn daily for fear of damaging them, they were highly valued as a form of traditional currency and could be used in paying a dowry by a young mans family for his bride. As far as I know the Sulka were the only people who made these spool type bangles that have the deep groove, they were widely traded around New Britain and to the mainland of Papua New Guinea.
In their ceremonial arts, the Sulka people of northern New Britain consciously seek to achieve magnificence, striving to maximise the visual impact on the viewer. Brightly pink coloured and ephemeral Masks that the Sulka create for one-time use in dances and ceremonies, during which their fleeting beauty allows the audience to briefly glimpse the divine. Afterwards the objects are destroyed.
You can see the Sulka peoples great appreciation for beauty in these beautifully made bangles.