An outsize Bena Bena shell currency bride price headband, Eastern PNG Highlands (NCA)

These status headbands, used as pride price and often worn by men as part of their war costume in former times, were so large that they were tied around the forehead and fell back to cover the top of the head like an old fashioned bonnet. This one actually measures 66 x 26 cm / 26 x 10 inches

They are made by the Bena Bena people of the Garoka area by attaching hundreds of tiny polished nasa snail shells to a large leaf shaped mat to form an intricate pattern.Their value as a tribal currency was derived from the large number of nasa shells, which were used as currency up to the 1950s, and the labour required to grind and polish the shells and attach them - see jpeg of the back of the piece to appreciate the larger amount of time and labour required.

Condition: Very good considering that it was probably worn and used for 20 30 years. Approximately 16 tiny nassa shells missing from the headband and one of the two banana leaf fibre fixing loops is loose on one side.

Price: 650.00 AUD
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