tool (general & multipurpose); spoon (food service)

Shell used as a spoon. The inside is white in colour and naturally polished around the rim. The underside is brown and ridged with bands of darker colour. The surface is pitted and worn in places.

The chief shell used in its natural form is the Cyrena, which serves at the present time as a knife, a scraper and a spoon. Even when they have knives of iron and steel they still use the Cyrena shell in preference for some purposes. It is used as a scraper in preparing fibres for rope and thread, in making arrows, as a knife for cutting thatching leaves and cane and even thread and rope, and for making incised patterns on bows and arrows. The shells are always to be found lying about their encampments, and a few are always carried with them when they migrate to a fresh camp. Those living inland obtain their supply from their friends on the coast. Brown 'The Andaman Islanders' 1922

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: