Old Shell Currency Matt Lumi Area West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
This beautiful old woven wealth object from the Lumi Area of the West Sepik Province (now called Sandaun Province) of Papua New Guinea it is made from thousands of tiny Nassa shells each individually sewn onto the sago spathe and woven matt backing. On the oval form you can see a design made with the pattern of the shells they like two ” M” or “W” shapes with a circle in the centre of the matt. The design is likely a stylised figure. These woven & shell matts are called Poli in their language, they are important wealth objects that are used as a traditional currency for bride price payments (a dowry) paid by the young mans family. This is the largest type of Poli and is much more beautiful that other square or rectangular shaped examples. The fine weaving takes great skill and many many hours to make this one poli .