Round place mat- cowrie shells strung on fishing wire
INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander mat
DOMESTIC EQUIPMENT Table Setting table mat
Dia 250 x H12 mm
Cowrie shell, fishing line
25/3/13. \ No idea who made or \ locality. \ V. popular. \ $2.50 label. \ Cowrie mat. Collect live and leave to die- \ Then shiny (collected live). \ Beautiful example. \ Traditional use \ as well as \ for sale
History and use
This object is from the Helen Barrett collection, which was donated to Queensland Museum in 2014. Miss Helen Barrett worked as a nurse with the Australian Board of Mission in Solomon Islands from 1947 until 1984. Barrett was based at Tasia in Isabel Province, and Maravovo on Guadalcanal before being stationed at the Hospital of the Epiphany at Fauabu, Malaita from 1968 until 1984. In the 1990s, Barrett worked with the Mothers Union in the Torres Strait Islands. Her collection largely comprises of objects that were presented as gifts over the course of her missionary work in Melanesia.
This style of cowrie shell place mat is popular throughout the Pacific, where they are sold as tourist objects.