Pacific art

The Solomons, located on the other side of the Pacific from Tahiti, have a very different art than Tahiti. While the Society Islands produced tapa cloth and small wooden sculptures, artists in the Solomons created pearl-shell inlay work, blackened wooden carvings and colorful braided fiber sheaths for a wide variety of objects. While mother of pearl inlay is typical of the Solomons, inlaid shields like this one are rare.

The Solomon Islanders were a warlike people, but their crafts are among the most dramatic in the Pacific. Here a human figure, surrounded by borders, has been created in a mosaic design made by setting shell fragments in a mastic base. This artistic achievement is the more remarkable when the tools available to Pacific craftsmen are considered: coral files, rasps of abrasive skin, pump drills, stone chisels.

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