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Marieneer shell and Toothie shell necklace

Date: 1998
Dimensions:
Overall: 840 x 12 mm, 0.06 kg
Medium: Shell, cotton/nylon, marieneer shell and toothie shell necklace
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Necklace
Object No: 00030304
Place Manufactured:Tasmania

User Terms

    SignificanceJoan Brown grew up as a member of the Aboriginal community on Cape Barren and as a girl collected the tiny shells the women in her family needed to string into necklaces. She didn’t know then that she would become a key figure in keeping the Tasmanian Aboriginal tradition alive; not just keeping it alive, but breathing new life into it at a time when few women still had the knowledge and skills required.

    Nowadays, pollution, over-collecting and fishing activities mean that the maireener shells – especially the larger ones – are becoming increasingly hard to find. Palawa shellwork, which was widely collected from the 19th century as curios and souvenirs – once an unknown part of community sustenance and survival – has, since the 1990s, been much sought after by collectors and institutions around the world as a contemporary cultural practice, assisting Palawa women to maintain this particular important cultural practice.
    HistoryJoan grew up as a member of the Aboriginal community on Cape Barren and as a girl collected the tiny shells the women in her family needed to string into necklaces. She didn’t know then that she would become a key figure in keeping the Tasmanian Aboriginal tradition alive; not just keeping it alive, but breathing new life into it at a time when few women still had the knowledge and skills required.
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