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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Santa Cruz Islands Tridacna Clam Shell Breastplate"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
Decorated in an abstract fretwork design of turtle shell
Late 19th - Early 20th Century
Size: 15cm dia. - 6 ins dia.
The diversity of motifs found on the fretwork turtle shell designs indicate a meaningful anthropomorphic imagery. The curved and winged motifs suggest the bodies of fish or frigate birds meeting amongst abstracted waves. Although the design varies from one to another it always resembles an abstracted fusion of frigate bird and fish forms. The Pacific frigate bird is not a fishing bird but an aggressor which swoops, intimidates and steals prey from the fish hawks and terns. It is to the fisherman of Santa Cruz and the Solomon Islands a ‘cloud animal’, one of the patterns identified and seen by men on a fishing expedition in the clouds.