Rare and magnificent old Mwali bracelet used in the ritual Kula exchange, Vakuta Island, Trobriands Archipelago (wwl)

This large and impressive example, circa 1950s, is built on a large clamshell bracelet to which is attached a wide collar of colourful trade beadwork and a number of white egg cowry shells. All thje work is done with fishing line, as it has been done for decades(strong cheap and does not require a needle). Size 29 x 23 x 9 cm / 11 � x 9 x 3 � inches.

The Kula is the most famous trading journey in Oceania � large canoes from throughout the Masssim area had trading partners on other islands, with whom they traded their own surplus produce � clay pots, taro, pigs, shell money, etc. At the same time, each kula trader had a trading partner on the other island with whom he exchanged gifts, and these gifts passed form hand ot hand within the kula ring. There was a strict procedure for the exchange. Red shell disk necklaces (bagi)) were always exchange in a clockwise direction and white clamshell armbands (mwali) in an anti-clockwise direction. The most famous kula items were named and each item changed hands frequently. The participants politicked (and employed magic wherever possible) to obtain the choicest examples and hold them for a while as they were publically displayed and conveyed great status. It is very unusual for a mwali of this size and age to be sold � possibly the kula ring that generated it on Vakuta had collapsed?

Ref: For a full description of the Kula trading cycle, see B Malinowski, �Argonauts of the Western Pacific�

Price: 1800.00 AUD
Convert to US Dollars
Convert to EUROS

Email enquiry or purchase request