Palmwood comb with five teeth and red twine wrapped around the base of the terminal.
CH classification INDIGENOUS CULTURES Melanesian & South Sea Islander comb
L319 x W56 mm
Palmwood and red twine.
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.