Papua New Guinea, Boiken Region, String of Cone Shell Disks

The Boiken people of Papua New Guinea use such cords adorned with shell discs of the striated cone snail as bride transaction money. This bride price is a custom found in many cultures. It is a sum paid by the family of the groom to the family of the bride. The payment indicates the bride's status in her new family. It is important to note the bride price is not a purchase, as we understand the term. It is rather compensation to the bride's family for losing a valued member while the groom's family gains a new one. The objects used for paying the bride price are carefully selected to celebrate her new status. The exchange also bonds the two families together. Families interlink through this ceremony and the bonds among the broader society are thus strengthened. Today, the bride price payment is often made in modern money but in many traditional cultures it still is at least partially settled in ritual currencies.

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