Head Comb

Production date
Unknown
Country
Papua New Guinea
State/Province
East New Britain
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Object detail

Description
Bamboo comb with incised, pigmented curvilinear design and eighteen teeth.
Classification
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander comb
Maker
Production date
Unknown
Measurements
L215 x W85 mm
Media/Materials description
Bamboo
History and use
Clothing in Melanesia was not required to fulfil a protective function against the environment; instead it was worn as ornament. Importance was placed upon many aspects of body decoration, in particular, head ornamentation. Combs were made for ceremonial display, as part of more elaborate headdresses associated with rites of passage and festivals. Combs were mostly worn by men.

These curved bamboo combs were often engraved with geometric designs on their convex surfaces. The tools needed to create combs included shell or stone for cutting; flint or bone points for boring; organic and inorganic pigments for colour; and abrasive materials for polishing, such as plants, sand, pumice stone and shark skin.

Uploaded to the Web 27 May 2011.
Registration number
E17067

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