A Rare Pacific Palau Islands Turtle-Shell Dish
A Rare Pacific Palau Islands Turtle-Shell Dish

A Rare Pacific Palau Islands Turtle-Shell Dish

1700 to 1900 Federated States of Micronesia

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A Rare Pacific Palau Islands Turtle-Shell Dish
Late 18th – Early 19th Century

Size: 21.5cm wide, 11.5cm deep, 3cm high – 8½ ins wide, 4½ ins deep, 1¼ ins high
cf James Hooper collection; Steven Phelps, item no. 939
Once known as the Pelew Islands, Palau is an archipelago of over 200 islands only 8 of which are inhabited. The Islands women regarded these dishes as their exclusive property and they were used, together with turtle-shell spoons, on special occasions as a form of currency in ritual exchange. Their ceremonial importance meant they were often gifted as heirlooms through the female line. As well as bowls; jewellery, combs, fish hooks and spoons were also made of sea turtle-shell on the Palau islands. The turtle-shell was firstly heated in hot water and then shaped by placing it in a wooden mould where it cooled and hardened into the desired shape.
Height 3.00 cm (1.18 inches)
Width 21.50 cm (8.46 inches)
Depth 11.50 cm (4.53 inches)
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