Asmat Bipane Shell Septum Jewelry

October 26, 2015

Material: Shell, Resin
Culture: Asmat
Location: Irian Jaya, Indonesia (West Papua)
Period: Early to mid 1900's
Size: 177mm x 88mm x 24mm (width x height x wearing size)
Weight: 64g

One of my favorite pieces of septum jewelry, due to it's size and boldness. The bipane is a very large septum adornment worn by the Asmat tribe of Irian Jaya. It's generally made from shell with a resin or wax binder serving as the wearing surface. The piece is worn white side out, which is very striking against the dark skin of the wearer's face. This results in a fierce tusk-like visual effect similar to that of a wild boar. The piece is worn by inserting one point (likely the gentler curve) into the septum, and rotating the entire piece while sliding it into position.

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