Shell Pectoral Ornament ”Mendi”
Melo Melo Amphora shells, Mendi-people, Papua New Guinea, early 20th century, private collection from Finland.
This remarkable Melo Melo Amphora shell pectoral ornament is from Mendi, provincial capital of the Southern Highlands Province, central Papua New Guinea. The town is located in the Mendi River Walley, 1675 meters above seal level, on the vulcanic limestone hills.
Shells in general were highly valuated as traditional wealth by the people of the interior of New Guinea. They had to travel through trading from coast to where they were collected to hundreds of kilometers through highly rugged terrains.
These cut Melo Melo Amphora shells were used as an ornament during sacred seremonies and used as traditional currency, also these shells were used as bridal dowries paid by young mans family. This is an old, well worn shell pectoral with gorgeous patina. Shells are smoothed from wearing and handling over many years and generations. Length approx. 60cm.