This week I’m going to give you a break from skulls, here’s an Anthropological mystery object for you to identify (as suggested by Emilia, who is one of our excellent Conservators):
Any idea what it is, where it’s from and what it’s made of?
As usual you can leave your suggestions, observations and questions in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to respond. Good luck!
A necklace made out of bone bits ?
Bit big for a necklace (note that the scale bar is 15 cm in total)!
Any more ideas on the ‘bone’?
Could it be ivory ?
But tusks aren’t hollow but these things look hollow.
If it is bone it would be about fallow deer size.
The bit at about nine o’clock has in a grove in it like a deer metatarsal.
It could be… don’t forget that tusks have hollow bits and solid bits…
I’ll go for an anklet made of bone bits 🙂
It would be a very big ankle – the scale bar is about 6 inches!
I’m with Jake; I think it’s a necklace made from bones. Human bones. Maybe the tibia..
Not human bones – although that would be rather interesting!
Only just seen the scale bar, so I think it’s a ceremonial skirt of Australian/aboriginal origin. I guess the bones then would be of a large marsupial, maybe Red Kangaroo parts?
I like your rationale, but wrong part of the world, so not kangaroo
I’m going to buck this trend by going for cermonial skirt, in wood
Ooh – nice bucking!
You’re part way there, but I’m not saying which part 😉
I’m stiking with ‘skirt’ then! Something about the detailing reminds me of voodoo!
I’m pretty certain that this has absolutely nothing to do with voodoo…
Okay, I know I’ve seen something like this before. But where?
This will come back to me…
I’m sure it will – collections diving time perchance?
Not coming back to me. Something in the back of my mind tells me it’s something to do with fishing, like a weird lure or something, but it’s not properly ringing the bell. It’ll probably hit me at some ungodly hour over the weekend.
Ah yes, the joyous 4am revelation – I know it well…
Surely too small for a skirt? Would be about the right size for a necklace for those of us at the larger end of human scale…
Is it maybe not for wearing at all? I bet it would make a good percussion instrument [shaken like a rattle, rather than hit as a series of ‘keys’].
I like the noise generating idea – I suppose I should have expected it from a percussion enthusiast like you! I expect that the sound generated may contribute to the item’s function, but it’s not the primary function.
As for it being small for a skirt, yes, on myself and you perhaps, but not all people are built for Northern climes…
I was about to say ‘no’, but actually, apparently it is a possibility given the location.
Using the scale bar, a ruler and some very basic mathematics it’s possible to work out the waist circumference of the person who wore this skirt (assuming that’s what it is). It’s actually about 66 cm or 26 inches, which may sound small to a great big Western heifer like me, but it’s not really that small for someone who lives an active life and doesn’t eat too much…
such as achild?
Or adult – most American A-list celebrities would think a 26″ waist was big, the average waist size of contemporary fashion models is 24″ and they are well above average height, so a slim woman of 5’6″ could easily have a 26″ waist and not be unusual.
This object is not from an area where obesity is a major problem for most of the population. Far from it.
Is it something shaken in the sea to attract sharks?
I strongly doubt it – the country this comes from is land-locked.
It is a primitive abacus made of whale bone
That would be very groovy, except it’s not right.
A dancing skirt? Those look very musical. I’d guess that those are sections of horn, looking at the taper – though my first thought was hippo teeth. African, though I wouldn’t want to guess any more closely.
Like your reasoning – although your first thought is probably better than you realise!
How about an african ceremonial skirt made from elephant tusks? You said something about pygmies, so I’ll extend my diagnosis a bit further and venture “forest elephant”.