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Oceanic Art (Pacific Islands)

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Charm

4 5/16 x 6 5/16 x 11/16 in. (11 x 16.1 x 1.8 cm)

Unknown, Papua New Guinean
Papua New Guinean

Object Type: Jewelry
Medium and Support: Boar tusk, plant fiber
Credit Line: From the collection of the Buffalo Museum of Science, C11130
Accession Number: 23.2009L
Location: Currently on view
Link to this object

The human impulse to embellish and beautify one’s body found expression in many ways in Oceania. Body paint, tattooing, jewelry and masking are all ways in which Oceanic people have adorned themselves.
This charm, suspended from the neck as a breast ornament, was a sign of rank and prestige. In order to create such an ornament, a boar was captured alive and two teeth were removed from its upper jaw. The animal was kept in captivity until the tusks of the lower jaw curved upwards, creating a complete circle. This symbol of status showed the wearer had the wealth to feed, house and care for a boar.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

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