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A Superb Old New Guinea Wood Kina Necklace Mendi Valley Southern Highlands Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-2263
Size 17cm x 12cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art

A Superb Old New Guinea Wood Kina Necklace Mendi Valley Southern Highlands Papua New Guinea

This rare old Wood Kina Pendant is from the Mendi Valley area in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. This rare type of object is called a Somp Kina. In New Guinea, the Gold Lipped Pearl Shell or Pinctada maxima is a very highly prized type of traditional wealth.  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 kilometers through some of the most rugged terrain on the planet. These were used as an ornament during traditional and were also used as a traditional currency to pay bridal dowries paid by a young mans family. In pre-European times even a small piece of gold pearl shell was valuable, this rare type of ornament was carved from wood in the form of two crescent-shaped gold-lipped pearls that then had only a small piece of real shell set in resin on the wood ornament. The edge of the wood pendant is decorated with jobs tears or Coix lacryma-jobi  seeds. This display showed how much gold-lipped Kina Shell was valued.

These old Somp Kina pendants are a very rare type of traditional currency, in the months I spent travelling around Mendi Valley and the Southern Highlands I only ever collected 3-4 examples.

This old Somp Kina I field was collected in Mendi Valley in 1985 and they were in the famous Elizabeth Pryce Collection for 35 years.

Provenance: Collected by Todd Barlin in Mendi in 1985, The Elizabeth Pryce Collection Sydney,  The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art & Oceanic Art

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery.  I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com  where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours. 


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.