Spirits and Headhunters

ART OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS at Bowers Museum, California
Organic Jewelry Design of Papua New Guinea

boar teeth, bone & fiber
dogteeth, nassa shell & fiber

boar tusk and fiber

Miners who came into the Highlands of Papua New Guinea searching for gold discovered a people who valued shells and other organic materials more. Dog teeth, fruit bat teeth, crocodile teeth, porpoise teeth, pig's tusks are all used in their traditional designs. During the colonial period, the Germans manufactured porcelain dog teeth and traded them. Strings of dog teeth are part of a family's wealth. Large pigs with tusks that curve back to form complete circles show wealth and are used for necklaces and nose pieces. Sometimes a deceased relative's or enemy's bones are worn to attract the ghost's spiritual power.