Tambu, shell money, ready for stringing

100_5155 Tambu, shell money

Tolai bride and a single unit of shell money called tambu. These tiny cowries have the backs broken out of them and then are threaded onto cane strips. The real unit of measurement is the "pram" (= one fathom, roughly). The cowries are now fished out in the Kokopo/Rabaul waters and along the north coast of New Britain, and supplies are sourced as far away as the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. 100_5155

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