Papua New Guinea: Sompcountry - Papua New Guineamaterials - wood, shell, paintobject - sompobject date - first half of the 20th Centurysource - Todd Barlin, SydneyA remarkably inventive and strong somp, viz. an object – worn on the chest – that imitates the shape of a kina, a crescent-shaped shell that used to be the national currency of Papua New Guinea. PNG Highlanders made these pectorals in wood, so as to own something like the real thing. On the object, they plac…ed a tiny piece of actual shell which they hoped would act as a magnet to attract more shell towards it. Somps are rare, but this one is particularly remarkable, and truly exceptional, because it also has two large eyes in bright red, suggesting an animal like an opossum with its glaring eyes at night-time. This is from our private collection, bought after 2007, and hence not included in *Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment* (for which see www.ethnicartpress.com.au).
"I eventually found out exactly what this was. The core buckle is a coat closure as Peter suggested, or a pectoral ornament, from the Djebel Druze of Syria. The little girl on the right is wearing the same model: "