Clamshell Wealth Ring (YUA) by Oceanic Art - 20th Century | Michael Reid Gallery

Oceanic Art
Clamshell Wealth Ring (YUA), 20th Century

17 x 17 cm
$2,200

Arapesh people, Yangoru, Prince Alexander Mountains, PNG

YUA, made from the giant clamshell Tridacna, are the most important wealth items among the people of the Prince Alexander Mountains in the East Sepik region. They were cut from a large clamshell using bamboo instruments, then carefully grinded with sand to create a smooth flat finish. This was a long and arduous task.

The YUA were often buried, to protect them from being plundered during tribal wars. In addition, the YUA is a “head ring”, meaning it was the principle ring when lined up in a bride price transaction. These wealth exchanges, during marriage, compensation and funeral ceremonies, always comprise many rings of varying sizes.

 

SOLD

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