Two old shell money rings, Choisel , Solomon Islands (MEF)

These two wide shell rings, in outstanding condition, are probably early 20th century. They were most likely part of an old grave wealth, since they appear to have been excavated. They are made out of coral rock by wetting a large bamboo tube, dipping in sand, and then turning it, repeating the process until it cuts out the hole, a time consuming process, hence the value as currency. The outer hole is made with a slightly wider bamboo tube allowing the piece to be extracted as a cylinder. I attended a talk by Lawrence Foanaota, Director of the National Museum of Solomon Islands who explained that while long strings and belts of shell money were still used as traditional currency, the wider rings had fallen into disuse and were therefore trickling onto the market (personal observation, L. Foanaota). Taller example width 4 cm / 1 inches, diameter 6cm / 2 3/8 inches. Shorter example width 6.5 cm /2 inches diameter 2.5 cm / 1 inch.

Price: 580.00 AUD
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