Papua New Guinea, Massim Area, Beku

Beku is a smoothly polished stone axe blade from a hard, dark, often greenish stone. In the Massim area of Papua New Guinea, beku is used for a number of transactions even today: as payments for the purchase of seed yams, pigs, canoes and land; payment for the labor in producing an especially large yams plant; to pay for magic; as payment for gaining allies in war; and as compensation for the death of a person. Besides, beku are a ritual currency used for weddings and obsequies. Their value depends on their beauty and size.