Passing on armbands and necklaces during the kula ritual.
From Updating Kula, Regina Knapp (2016)
1. Canoe ahoy!
This wooden board protected sailors from the water that splashed up around a big sailing canoe. During the kula ritual men sail from island to island in a canoe. The beautiful carving and the red and white colours were meant to keep evil forces away while they were on their journey. The freshly painted board also made the canoe look very impressive when it arrived.
Kilivila; Kiriwina Island, Papua New Guinea; around 1972; wood, pigment; RV-4593-17
2. It has to come from both sides
Shell jewellery is the most important gift during the kula ritual. People do not usually wear it, because it actually gets passed on from one island to the next. The one on the left is worn on the chest, and the one on the right is an armband. The people who made them only used shells with the most beautiful shapes and colours.
Massim; Kuyava Island, Papua New Guinea; 1900-1961; spiny oyster shell, mother of pearl, conus shell, wood, plant material; WM-53772, WM-48713
Tell each other: how long do you think this canoe is? Pace out the length. Pretend you’re both in a big sailing canoe with a very special gift. You meet and give each other your gifts. What will you say about yours?