Friday, February 12, 2010


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
Mwali armband made from sinnet strung glass beads, vegetable fibers, shells and conus millepunctus shell. Massim Region. Early 20th century, collected by Colonel John Durnford-Slater
British Army, India, Ca1935 for more information
portobello@wsold thanks

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