Chris Boylan Oceanic Art

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C-05.ENGRAVED BAILER SHELL “PAKOL”

Kandep, Enga Province, PNG

The bailer shell (melo amphora) is the most important pectoral in this region, worn mainly by men, but sometimes women of high status. They follow trade routes that bring these shells hundreds of kilometres from the coast, and they become both important in ceremony but also as items of wealth. Most are shaped, with a fibre chord to hang around the neck; the best have these geometric designs pecked into the surface, usually along the top edge. Very rarely an abstract figure is pecked onto its surface; similar to figures found on fighting shields.

Size: 28 x 19 cm