Nassa snails (dog whelks) are considered as very valuable in Papua New Guinea. They remained in use as money until the 1960s. In some regions their shells were broken and threaded on cords. The cords were used for money and to pay the bride price, and also for storing wealth.
Sometimes, like on this piece, nassa shells were sewn on barkcloth and arranged in designs. These barkclothes were worn as headbands and also used for bride prices.