Papua New Guinea in Plymouth
Plymouth museum has nearly 600 artefacts from Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The collection includes body ornaments and clothing, weapons and tools, ceremonial and magical items, objects used in music and dance, and for betel-chewing and tobacco-smoking. Plymouth’s collections from PNG are over a century old, and PNG has changed a lot since then.
400 objects came from Dauncey’s collection. The rest of the objects came from 14 other collectors. You can find more information about the collection objects below.
Find out more about the collection's historical context - who brought these objects to Plymouth, and from whom did they get them?
More than 400 of these objects were collected by the Reverend Harry Moore Dauncey, an English missionary who worked in PNG from the 1880s until the 1920s.
Find out about the 14 other collectors who brought PNG collections to Plymouth. You can also find out about the aspects of PNG culture that can't be collected, due to size or their ephemeral nature.
Objects from Papua New Guinea
In the tropical climate of Papua New Guinea, people decorated their bodies lavishly with ornaments rather than clothes.
The weapons in Plymouth's Papua New Guinea (PNG) collection include bows and arrows, spears, clubs and shields.
Music, dance and feasting were key elements of religious ceremonies in traditional New Guinea.
Betel leaf is traditionally chewed in Papua New Guinea for its mild narcotic effect - much like tobacco is used in Europe.
Objects used for eating and drinking in Plymouth's Papua New Guinea collection include containers and utensils, such as forks, spoons and scoops.
The tools here include everything from stone adzes and axes to a needle used for making fishing nets.
There are some aspects of PNG culture that can't be collected, due to size or their ephemeral nature.