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Animal Tooth Necklace

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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1951A3.40
Collection:Ethnography - Oceania
Date:1875 - 1925


This necklace is constructed of animal teeth, separated by shell beads, threaded on vegetable fibre. Dog, porpoise and shark teeth were all used for this style of necklace.Carefully fashioned shell beads traditionally constituted a form of currency in Pacific cultures, and are referred to as 'shell money'. Animal teeth often held a similar value and function. The shells were initially broken into small fragments, chipped into roughly circular discs, then ground flat and smooth on a stone slab, before being individually drilled.The glass beads at the ends of the necklace are Venetian, and are of a type that was traded to various continents.

Transferred from the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum.

Further Information

Production Period:19th century or 20th century
Material(s):Vegetable fibre
Place of Origin:Solomon Islands


Height:315 mm
Width:60 mm