Belt (ore)



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.