Papua New Guinea
See full details
This neck ornament is adorned with both coix seeds and cowrie shells, materials commonly used in decorative body ornaments. The necklace is a late 20th century design, with both red and blue artificial beads and synthetic twine used.
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, wearers of different body adornments use the ornaments 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.