Belt (ore)

51.106.13

About this object

A belt made of stiff bark, coiled on itself. The outer surface has an elaborate incised design with zigzags and a face at one end, infilled with white lime.

Reverend John Henry Holmes, who collected this object sometime between 1893 and 1900, writes about bark belts: "The ceremonial belts … were skilfully carved. The belt itself began as a strip of bark about two feet six inches long and one foot wide. It was cut, and the side to be carved was scraped and cleaned… Later, the artist, with an oyster shell, carved on it the particular totem design desired."

According to Reverend Holmes, the designs are symbolic representations or portraits of ancestral spirits rather than specific representations of birds or other 'totemic' animals.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Personal Ornament
  • Culture
    Elema or Purari peoples
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Melanesia: New Guinea: Gulf of Papua
  • Date made
    1900 before
  • Materials
    Lime; Fibre Bark
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, World Cultures
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Mrs E. W. Sexton, 1951
  • Collector
    John Henry Rev Holmes
  • Place collected
    Oceania: Melanesia: New Guinea: Gulf of Papua
  • Date collected
    1893 - 1900
  • Measurements
    216 mm x 220 mm
  • Related people
    John Henry Rev Holmes ( Collector, previous owner); Elsie Wilkins Sexton ( Previous owner)

Ownership

Previous owners

  • Elsie Wilkins Sexton

    Owned from: 1901
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1951
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • John Henry Rev Holmes

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1901
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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