Solomon Island Large Clam Shell Armlets (SO001, SO002, SO003)

Description of item:















































































Tridacna (Tridacna gigas) clam shells. Without doubt the earliest, most elegant superb examples with unimpeachable provenance; 1800’s.



        Diameter: 12 cm (4.7 inches)

        Width: 4.5 cm (1.7 inches)



        Diameter: 8 cm (3.1 inches)

        Width: 4.5 cm (1.7 inches)



        Diameter: 8 cm (3.1 inches)

        Width: 2 cm (0.8 inches)


From the Collection of Reverend Isaac Rooney, F.R.G.S., Methodist missionary in the Pacific islands, 1865-1889: Fiji, New Britain, the Duke of York Group and New Ireland.


Rooney, Isaac (b. Castlecaulfield, co. Tyrone, Ireland, 11 March 1843, d. Adelaide, SA, 22 July 1931). Protestant missionary in the South Pacific. Isaac Rooney migrated to Australia aged six with his mother and stepfather, who settled in Melbourne. Following his conversion in 1860, he trained for the ministry at Horton College, Tasmania, and was sent in 1865 to be a missionary in Fiji by the Vic-Tas Wesleyan Methodist Conference. He spent 15 years in Fiji, 10 as Superintendent, and 8 in the Bismarck Archipelago, as chairman of the district. He returned to Australia in 1889 and took up appointments as a Methodist minister in SA becoming president of the Conference in 1908. He became a supernumerary in 1910, and in 1911 he visited the Middle East and England, giving many lectures on the Island peoples. Three sons, Stephen Rabone, Frederick Langham and Leslie Davidson became Methodist ministers, the eldest surviving son, (Ray) also being a missionary in the Solomon Islands. During his ministry conditions in the islands were primitive and dangerous, and many islanders were still cannibals. Supplies, especially medicines, were uncertain and sailing to and between islands hazardous. These conditions brought personal sorrow in the deaths in the islands of two wives and two children, and in the necessity of leaving three other children, including a young baby in the care of a planter's wife. However, devotion to the Christian cause was the mainspring of his life, and he was wholly committed to the saving of souls, constantly reporting in his journal, converts and baptisms, and rejoicing in the subsequent changes in life-style and behaviour, not fully realising the long term results of the radical changing of their whole way of life. He did much to improve ideas of hygiene, health and literacy, translating hymns and Bible passages, and setting up schools wherever he went. He shared the anti-Catholic attitude of his Protestant contemporaries and accepted the Victorian belief that Christianising and civilising were identical. His contribution to the knowledge of island peoples, their customs, beliefs and languages led to his being made a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1901.


K., Conru, ‘Bismarck Archipelago Art’ (2013: plates 165-166).


 From the Collection of Reverend Isaac Rooney;


Arthur Palmer, Brisbane, Australia.



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