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Melanesian rare museum quality hand carved Bowl

Unique art from the South Pacific

Item 2A17 in our inventory

Terrific value for a very rare item

A large Massim hand-carved dish/bowl with mother of pearl inlays 

In perfect condition and a great value at that price. It is very hard to come across such collectibles unless you go there.

11 1/2" long, 5 1/2" wide and 2" high and number 2A17 in our inventory.

(Seen on all the pictures)

Created out of a solid piece of kwila wood

Heavily decorated with inserts of mother of pearl and typical incised Trobriand designs

This is a beautiful completely hand carved hand crafted Melanesian (remote Massim region) bowl

(seen on most of the photos) 

Delicate, time-consuming, hand incised motifs on border and adorned with inserts of mother of pearl all over

From the isolated Trobriand Islands, North of Papua New Guinea

Beautifully carved by a local renowned master carver with rudimentary tools.

Amazingly beautiful considering the basic tools used such as pieces of broken shells, rusted nails from shipwrecks found on the beaches, and sea ray, shark skin or an animal horn or tusk rubbed for days against the surface till all is smooth, among other sanding materials, and to produce a sheen on the wood.


These beautiful receptacles are rare items of the Kula ring created from, usually, kwila, rosewood or ebony.

 This is a completely hand crafted item created out of 1 piece of precious wood sold at a fraction of value.

The remaining photos are of these remote tribal people and of some of their yam houses.

In these islands which are rarely visited, outside influence is at a minimum. The extremely skilled carvers inspire themselves from what is around them as they have access to nothing else: the natives, birds, fish, pigs, marine turtles, snakes and whatever they see in their dreams such as dragons or mystical figures.

Some of these items have very important meanings as they are used as part of the Kula ring trade system that has existed between the islands for centuries.

The Kula ring is a system of exchange involving annual inter-island visits between trading partners who exchange highly valued shell ornaments and other things during year-long sea travels.

In his Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), Malinowski analyzed the kula ring, the exchange of shell valuables in a circle around the chain of the . These ornaments were traded from island to island in a counter-clockwise direction:

A long time ago when the days were longer and the nights shorter lived a hero called Tava who at times took the form of a snake. Tava was known to pass between the villages that are identified as the active . When he was present in a village the people were said to have good fortune and prosper. His location was known only to one woman in each village and she would feed and tend to him. If he felt mistreated or betrayed at any time he would move on to the next island. On his departing the good fortune would also depart with him. He would nevertheless leave each village with a trade.

This trade ranged from a surplus of pigs and yams in the Trobriands to the fine art or pottery found in the Amphletts. Other places became known for obsidian and Betel nut. It is believed that this myth could be one of the origins of the and the way it functions. Kula is a ritualized trading culture existing in eastern which the Trobriands are part of. It is essentially network of villages joined by a common trade route, known as the Kula ring . By analogy, Kula allows you to experience the magic and legends of . Kula was and still is a life sustaining cultural exchange. It is unfortunate that much of the time and energy that was used in the past to hold together the social foundation is now being clouded with the desire for money, a by-product of a tourism-based economy. With influences such as these and the advancement of technology, the intricate pattern in which traditional values are based is slowly eroding. Kula is the basis of mental and physical well-being.

The sea traffic has always been associated with making contact with far off neighbors.

These proud people have managed, in the face of continued government and missionary pressure, to maintain a culture of incredible depth and beauty. For the most part, they still live by the same methods as have existed in their remote islands for thousands of years.

We go straight to the source to find these treasures.

Check Dominique Rice Oceania Store in Sun Sentinel Newspaper, Fort Lauderdale, for information on our collection and authentic art.


All our collector and rare items come with pages and pages of research about provenance, and with history of the tribes and photos as well, depending on item and whenever possible. When shipping internationally, we group ship multiple purchases to save you money, and find the best rates. If you have any questions or want to see research conducted on this piece and photos of tribes, tell us.

We have artifacts and architectural accents up to 10 ft tall that we will put on upon request because shipping has to be calculated accordingly with trucking company.