Sombti (ritual object, part of a somb)
- Other titles:
- Somp, worn by leader of a clan, Kina wallet, Shomp
- Not on display
- Further information
The 'sombti' is a wooden, crescent-shaped object which accompanies the highly valued 'somb'. In former times the 'somb' was kept as an item of prestige - a symbol of clan unity and social solidarity amongst the Mendi of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The 'sombti' is not as valuable as the 'somb' itself and is made only to decorate the 'somb'.
Many people are involved in making the 'sombti'. One brings the wood which is shaped into a crescent. Another contributes red paint to decorate the 'sombti', while others bring 'ti kulimb', or tree moss, and other materials to decorate the item.
Those involved in making the 'sombti' and decorating the 'somb' are each paid when the 'somb' is sold, even though they may not have contributed to the purchase of the 'somb'.
[see Theodore Mawe, 'Mendi culture and tradition: a recent survey', PNG National Museum, Record No. 10, 1985, pg. 32-41]
- Place of origin
Southern Highlands Province,
Papua New Guinea
- Cultural origin
- Mendi people
- mid 20th century
- Ceremonial object
- wood, red ochre pigment, white pigment, plant seeds, rattan, bark, plant fibre string, sedge grass
- 18.5 x 14.6 x 1.2 cm
a - sombti; 18.5 x 14.6 x 1.2 cm; approximate dimensions of leaf bundle
b - leaf bundle; 25 x 16 cm
- Purchased 1977
- Accession number
- © Mendi people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics