Cowries among the Me or Ekagi

The Impact of a New Currency on a Group of Central Highlanders in Papua, Indonesia

By Sibbele Hylkema

Edited by: Anton Ploeg

Sibbele Hylkema ofm (1933-1998) was a missionary who worked among the Me or Ekagi from 1969 to 1994. At the same time, he was an ethnographer who has left a large and impressive corpus of ethnography dealing with these people. So far, little of this work has been published. This book consists of edited versions of two unfinished manuscripts that he worked on in his final years. It includes his analysis of the role of cowrie shells in the social life of the Me as a means of payment - "money" - and simultaneously, amulets charged with supernatural power. Hylkema traces their rise - not long before the colonial era - and their fall, in the 1970s and 1980s.


208 pages

Publication Date: 12/28/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9783643902009