TRIBAL & ASIAN ART AND ANTIQUITIES
PSW00066 • ANTIQUE STICK-MONEY

Primary Source at Santa Monica Tribal Arts Show, November 2007

4847 W. Jefferson Blvd. Los Angeles, CA • 90016

Telephone 323.732.6131 Facsimile 323.732.6306

PSW00066
ANTIQUE STICK-MONEY / BARTER CURRENCY OF SHELL.
LUMI TRIBE, WEST SEPIK PROVINCE. PAPUA NEW GUINEA.
CIRCA 19TH CENTURY / PROBABLY MUCH OLDER.

FROM LEFT

HEIGHT ON STAND: 42.00”

HEIGHT ON STAND: 24.00”

HEIGHT ON STAND: 42.00”

This most unusual form of currency is highly regarded by the tribal people of New Guinea. They buy brides (bride-price) and land with Stick-Money. This is one of the two most highly valued forms of shell money. The other being the giant and thick “Yua” money that is disc-shaped.

The individual larger pieces in the stick money are also called Yua, but they are flatter and of smaller diameter. They are made by the coastal tribes from Giant Sea Clams and traded inland to the Lumi tribe. This trade has been going on for centuries and possibly millennia. The longer the stick, the more prestige is brought to the owner. As the stick is passed down from generation to generation, more circular shell discs are added. That means that the discs on a long stick, like this specimen, are from many different time periods. One can notice the different patinas on the shells in this ensemble. The patina refers to the surface wear and transformation by the touch of human hands and oils that are in our skin.

Today in New Guinea, the modern paper currency is called “Kina”. The name Kina comes from another crescent-form shell money that is worn around the neck and is still being used. The importance of Shell Money as Barter Currency continues into the Twenty-First Century.
The shells have surfaces of apparent age due to their luster and color. Many collectors prefer to mount the Stick-Money vertically.

SOLD

Other specimens may be available. Inquire.

 

Stick-money

Primary Source © 2008