An important Kapkap of very large size and exceptional quality.

An important Kapkap of very large size and exceptional quality.

14 ø x 0.2 cm. 19/20th century. Ex-coll.

Provenance: Hans Nevermann circa 1933/34, Chief Curator of the Oceania Department at the Völkerkunde Museum, Berlin. Then by exchange / gift to Serge Brignoni, artist and collector, Berne. Ex private collection, France.

Kapkap are pectoral ornaments in the form of a thin white shell disc surmounted by a second openworked turtle shell disc. The two discs are held together by a string through the center which becomes the necklace. A kapkap of this size belonged to an important leader or a man of substantial wealth. The symbolic meaning of the kapkap, which is found in various forms throughout the South Pacific, is unknown to this day. It should be noted, however, that the kapkap of New Ireland contains remarkable similarities to the dangerous and all-powerful Malagan of the Sun, or vavara, a circular emblem made of braided fibers that was associated with certain funeral rituals in central New Ireland. The number of serrated bands cut through the turtle shell disc indicates the number of clans in which the man was initiated and for which he can speak - on this kapkap there are four bands. New Ireland, Bismarck Archipelago, PNG, Melanesia. Tridacna giga, turtle shell, and bush string.