Lot: 42

Necklace "soulava"

Papua New Guinea, Milne Bay Province, D' Entrecasteaux Islands

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Michael Hamson, Palos Verdes, California, USA
Ben Hirsch, Maastricht, The Netherlands
L: ca. 11.4 inch 500 EUR / 1000 EUR

various shells (red Spondylus shell), various fibres, imported glass beads, Necklaces "soulava" are part of a ceremonial exchange system among the inhabitants of the Melanesian Islands, which is called "kula exchange" or "kula ring" by ethnologists. These Melanesian islands are arranged almost in a circle, and necklaces "soulava" are exchanged between them in one direction and arm rings "mwali" in the opposite direction. The individual necklaces and arm rings have a sacred character, each with its own orally transmitted story. All gifts must be exchanged after some time. The social function of this complex, none-profit exchange trade is to strengthen the social bonds between the islanders.

Roger Neich & Fuli Pereira, Pacific Jewelry and Adornment, o.O. 2004, p. 81