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Coconut charm to ward off evil spirits, Papua New Guinea, 1890-1920

LaKaKare charms from Papua New Guinea were often made from carved coconuts. The charms represented marine creatures – in this case a swordfish – or the heads of pigs. This charm has a swordfish jaw attached at the bottom. The hollow coconut would have been filled with substances believed to have magical powers. The fibre bag allowed travellers to carry the charm around their necks to ward off danger.

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    Glossary: coconut

    Fruit of the tropical palm coco nucifera (coco-palm)

    Glossary: amulet

    Small object or piece of jewellery worn as a protecting charm to ward off ill health and bad luck.