Boar tooth necklace

Boar tooth necklace, 19th century

Amazonian people



What is it made from? This necklace has been made from the canine teeth of a peccary species (Dicotyles sp.) threaded onto a length of knotted cotton. The necklace is made of 101 teeth, each of which was cut in half, shaped and polished.

Where did the teeth come from? Each adult peccary has four very big sharp canines so around 26 peccaries were used to make this necklace. White-lipped peccaries travel in herds of up to 400 individuals and lots of them can be harvested at the same time They are one of the favourite meals of Amerindian peoples, but as they are very aggressive, a lot of preparation is needed to ensure a successful hunt. Amongst the WaiWai, the village shaman would use a peccary claw to keep the herds near the village. Many people take dogs with them to help in a peccary hunt.

Image: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

How was it worn? The cotton tassels are worn hanging over the person’s back while the part with the teeth go round the neck.

Who made it? We don’t know who made the necklace, but it was given to Glasgow Museums in 1883 by Arthur Moore Abbott. Although Sir Arthur came from Paisley he lived and worked in British Guiana, as Guyana was then called.

Linked objects:

White-lipped peccary