Artist unknown / Kapkap / 20th centuryArtist unknown
20th century

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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: Asian; Pacific; Melanesian; Solomon
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Artist unknown
Title: Kapkap
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1900
Creation End Date: 1999
Creation Date: 20th century
Creation Place: Oceania
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Materials and Techniques: clam shell, tortoise shell, cord, beads
Dimensions: H.3/8 x Dia.6 in. (without cord)
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 99.4
Credit Line: The Walter R. Bollinger Fund

The kapkap is the most important chest ornament worn by initiated men in the Solomon Islands. The white disk is cut from the shell of the tridacna, a large sea clam, and the inner disk is carved from a tortoise shell. Shells of many types were prized and often traded as money. Tortoiseshell had to be boiled to make it soft enough to carve. The more complicated and delicate the decoration, the greater the kapkap's value.

In general, the kapkap's size and quality indicated the wearer's social status. The prestige of this exceptionally large and detailed example is enhanced by the precious shell beads strung on the cord attaching the tortoiseshell disk to the white shell body.

Component Measured: overall
Measurement Unit: in
AMICA Library Year: 2001
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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