Indonesia/Papua New Guinea, Necklace of Dog Teeth, until 1960
|Denomination:||Necklace of Dog Teeth|
|Year of Issue:||1800 A.D. - 1960 A.D.|
Dog teeth served as decoration and money in different parts of Papua New Guinea and of Papua. Their quantity was restricted because only the canine teeth were considered as money. The teeth were holed and strung on cords; they were used as necklaces and as headdresses. The dog teeth strings were also used as bride price.
The Mafulu, a people living on the slopes towards the Gulf of Papua, used dog teeth also to pay for pigs. The cost of a pig at one time was a chain of dog teeth that equaled the length of the pig from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail.
During the German colonial rule over New Guinea, the Germans imported dog teeth from porcelain. The locals used these imitations just like the real teeth. The use of dog teeth as money ended after 1960.
The drawing shows a richly adorned woman of the Abelam people; the necklace fitting closely around her neck is made of dogs' teeth. Source: M. Stingl, Kunst der Südsee, Leipzig 1985, Seite 72