December 27, 2014

1380 SOLOMON ISLANDS - A bride with shell money from Malaita Province

Named after its largest island, Malaita is one of the largest provinces of the Solomon Islands, the island nation located in Oceania, to the east of Papua New Guinea and northwest of Vanuatu. Malaitans are of a varying phenotype. The skin varies from rich chocolate to tawny, most clearly darker than Polynesians, but not generally as dark as the peoples of Bougainville or the western Solomons, who Malaitans refer to as "black men". Most of them are shorter than average Europeans, though not as short as Negritos.

The peoples of Malaita share many aspects of their culture, although they are generally divided into ethnic groups along linguistic lines. Nevertheless, the inhabitants of the main island are of Melanesian ethnicity and has unique cultural traditions in social aspects of life. The violation of cultural taboos and practices as well as causing personal offence is considered a cultural affront. Malaita culture calls for the exchange of valuables to ease and resolve the alienation that may thus arise. This is called fa abua or fa okae (compensation).

One of the specific traditions is the brideprice. In this practice the groom's parents present customary money of shells and food to the bride's parents. The shell-money, manufactured in the Langa Langa Lagoon, is the traditional currency used in Malaita and throughout the Solomon Islands. The money consists of small polished shell disks which are drilled and placed on strings. It can be used as payment for bride price, funeral feasts and compensation, with the shell-money having a cash equivalent value. It is also worn as an adornment and status symbol.

The standard unit, known as the tafuliae, is several strands 1.5 m in length. The shell money is still produced by the people of Langa Langa Lagoon, but much is inherited, from father to son, and the old traditional strings are now rare. Four different types of shell are used, a red lipped rock oyster known as romu (Chama pacifica), white shell known as ke'e (Beguina semiorbiculata), black horse mussel shells called kurila (Atrina vexillum) and thick white disks from a rigid cockle known as kakadu or kakandu (Anadara granosa).

About the stamp
Unfortunately, the stamp is missing. Whether it was not well attached, either was stolen by a moron from Poşta Română (when it disappeared, the postmark from Solomon Island had already applied).

Malaita Province - Wikipedia
Malaita - Wikipedia
Traditional Marriage (Luma'a) Arrangements in To'abaita -
Langa Langa Lagoon - Wikipedia

Sender: Jill
Sent from Honiara (Guadalcanal Island / Solomon Islands), on ??.11.2014

No comments:

Post a Comment