Two Old Micronesian Fishing Lures Marshal Islands 19th Century
|Size||10cm - 11cm|
These two finely made old Shell Fishing Lures are from the Marshal Islands in Micronesian, They are from the late 19th Century and have been in my collection for 38 years.
Fishing hooks and lures were made and used by indigenous cultures from around the world. Each culture had slightly different shapes and materials to work from but the technology of using hooks and lures to catch fish goes back to ancient humans who worked out how to make and use them to harvest fish in the oceans, lakes, and streams.
A fishing lure is a type of artificial bait which is designed to attract the attention of a fish. The lure uses movement, vibration, flash, and colour to mimic what a fish may eat. Some lures are placed to attract fish so a spear can be used or the quarry be hand caught such as a decoy. Most lures are attached to the end of a fishing line where handlining is used from boats or canoes.
The people of Marshal Islands in Micronesia lived on small atolls in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, they lived on and through the ocean, fishing was the main source of food and everyone fished, young and old. These two old lures are made from gold-lipped pearl shells on the base and another type of darker shell was used for the hook, they are bound together with native string. The gold pearl shell when being trolled in the water looks like a small fish which attracts larger fish to swallow it and end up caught on the hook. I have seen men using traditional fish hooks in the Solomon Islands catch 20 -30 large tuna or skipjack using these when the schools of fish are passing through, it happens very quickly and soon the bottom of their boat was full of fish that was then bought back to the village and distributed between all of the families. This is how people eat almost every day.
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art