Neck ornament

Production date
Pre 1990
Papua New Guinea
East Sepik
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Object detail

Neck ornament, woven and plaited plant fibre backing with a pair of pig's tusks suspended from the fibre. Backing decorated with Nassarius shell edging.
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander neck ornament
Production date
Pre 1990
Pendant: L 110 x W 110 mm
Full: L 225 x W 150 mm
History and use
Jewellery and pieces of personal adornment, such as this neck ornament, symbolise the wearer’s wealth or status.

Body decoration, or bilas, is a significant social and cultural practice in Papua New Guinea. Bilas can take many forms: headdresses, body painting, the wearing of wigs, or wearing ornaments such as necklaces and body adornments. Bilas can display unity within a group, is used to celebrate significant events such as births, deaths, marriages and battles, and extends respect to ancestral spirits. Used in song and dance, these ornaments are worn to demonstrate their group’s status, health, fertility, wealth and strength.

This object was collected by donor Peter Watt in 1990 and donated to the Museum of Tropical Queensland in 2012.
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