Neck ornament

Production date
Pre 1990
Country
Papua New Guinea
State/Province
East Sepik
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Object Detail


Description
Neck ornament, with circular plaited plant fibre backing suspended from a woven and plaited necklace. Facial features woven into front of necklace, with single tusk suspended from center of face and cowrie shells used as eyes. Eight brittle shells attached to ends of synthetic twine threaded with coix seeds and red and blue artificial beads.
Classification
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander neck ornament
Measurements
L 493 x W 100 mm
Media/Materials description
Neck ornament, with circular plaited plant fibre backing suspended from a woven and plaited necklace. Facial features woven into front of necklace, with single tusk suspended from center of face and cowrie shells used as eyes. Eight brittle shells attached to ends of synthetic twine threaded with coix seeds and red and blue beads artificial beads.
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.
Associated person
Registration number
E40843

State/Province

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