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

1890-1920 in Papua New Guinea

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Coconut charm or 'Lakakare' carved to represent swordfish with separate bone sword jaw, Papuan Gulf area, New Guinea,
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Coconut charm or "Lakakare" carved to represent sword fish with separate bone sword jaw, secured inside cover strong bag with strap, worn to keep off evil spirits, Papuan Gulf area, 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.


Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
bag, string, fishbone and shell, coconut
  • plant material
  • fruit
  • fleshy fruit
  • stone-fruit

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