August 27, 2008

New objects on display from Solomon Islands

Posted by: Julia Swan

The Recent Acquisitions case in the Pacific Voices gallery was updated last week with objects from the Solomon Islands that were donated to the Burke in 2007 by the grandsons of collector Walter J. Eyerdam, a Seattle-born naturalist and biologist.

Located in the South Pacific (near Papua New Guinea), the 1,000 small islands known as the Solomon Islands are home to about 570,000 people. The objects on display were made for use, not sale, and were all collected between 1928-30.

I really like the “prestige items”-- pieces made from certain materials that were used on the Islands as symbols of wealth and had value as a medium of exchange (i.e. money!). Clamshell, bat teeth, and fish vertebrae (pictured left) are among the materials worthy of this prestige. The bat teeth are my favorite!

The Solomon Islands objects will be on display in Pacific Voices through February. Come check them out.