A MALAITA BRIDES ORNAMENT

Solomon Islands

Shell, coconut and cotton, 273 cm, 10 strings.

The first example of shell money depicted here is known as tafuli’ae. This is the type of money used for “bride-price” and is predominantly red in color. Red discs are considered to be more valu­able than white or black. This particular shell string is distinguished by its length, and is called ro abala which can be trans­lated as two fathoms, or double the span of a man’s outstretched arms. This longer string is the size normally used for brideprice. It is the socially accepted means of arranging a marriage and was transmitted generation to generation.

Price on request.