355. Pearl-Shell Bride Piece

New Britain, circa 1900
Size: 22 cm maximum diameter

The largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain was known as Neu-Pommern until 1914, when it changed ownership. The black pearl shell (Pinctada margaritifera) was formerly used as a bride price on this island, hung with fibres, shells and dog’s teeth. It would have been used for several bride purchases, and have been given its own personal name.