Arts of the Pacific Islands
Throughout northern Vanuatu, an island nation in the Southwest Pacific, men gain political power by participating in a series of complex economic tests. Each achieved social rank grants a man the right to wear specific insignia or ornaments. This armband would have been worn on the upper left arm to signify a particular economic accomplishment and to mark the man as someone of high status.
Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, ni-Vanuatu artists began replacing white and brown beads made from shell and coconut wood with more colorful European glass beads.
Glass beads, fiber
mid 19th-mid 20th century
3 3/8 × 3 15/16 × 4 5/16 in. (8.5 × 10 × 11 cm)
Gift of Ingeborg de Beausacq
Armband of woven fiber cord decorated allover with glass beads in geometric patterns.
This item is not on view
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.