A Fine Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, man's breast pendant, 'Tema'

A Fine Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, man's breast pendant, 'Tema'

1800 to 1900 Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands

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A Fine Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, man’s breast pendant, ‘Tema’
19th Century

Size : 15 cm dia – 6 ins dia
Provenance : From the collection of an English Private Museum

These pendants are made from a large disc of tridacna, pacific white clam shell, overlain with a turtle shell plate, which is cut away leaving an abstract motif representing a frigate bird with outstretched wings and bifurcated tail. The upper design possibly detailing a horizontal series of stylised fish or dolphins.
The Santa Cruz Islands are in the southern most group of the Solomon Islands. Important men wore these white clam shell discs known as 'tema' for ceremonies and as a form of battle dress when fighting.
Archaeological excavations on the Santa Cruz Islands have revealed large tridacna shell discs demonstrating that they have been made there for almost 3000 years.

Depth 15.00 cm (5.91 inches)
Shell and Tortoiseshell
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