Kina Shell Pectoral

Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Pearl Shell, Natural Fiber, Cowrie Shells, Ochre

Mid. 20th C. or Earlier

8.5" W x 7" H, Strap 10”

Pectorals such as this are traditional currency from the Highlands and are still used today as a form of payment.  Papua New Guinea’s modern currency is called the kina, each kina is 100 toea (meaning valuable shell, used in the coastal regions) in the same way our currency is referred to as the dollar and made up of 100 pennies.  This example has signs of extensive use from being worn as a pectoral.  The intense pigment remnants have softened into the “pores” of the shell creating a beautiful, much valued object.