Design of the ceremonial shell necklace, pigs hoofprints and spots of the wood-boring grub.
The border and the irregular square frames are known as orriseegé or ‘pathways’ and provide a compositional framework for the designs. The arc design is hartu’e, a design which is painted directly onto the shell of the ceremonial shell necklace of the same name. Hartu’e have mouthpieces behind the shell that dancers bite to display in their mouths during ceremonial dance performances. Ömie people obtained the shells from coastal tribes of Oro Province by means of trade and they also collected them from the beach. Most hartu’e and other shell necklaces that can still be found in the Ömie mountains were originally traded by the owners parents or grandparents a long time ago. Sometimes the “shell” can be fashioned from a cassowary breastbone to imitate the shell. Lila has traced the edges of the hartu’e with radiating lines, working outwardly as the cadences themselves become an important part of the visual effect of the work. This is a customary technique, rarely seen, that Lila was taught as a young girl and has mastered. The spots within the orriseegé is a design called sabu deje representing the spots which can be seen on the sides of a wood-boring grub. This grub is sacred to Ömie people as it plays an important part within the creation story of how Huvaemo (Mount Lamington) came to be volcanic. It is a traditional soru’e (tattoo design) which was most commonly tattooed running in one line under both eyes. Today it is applied to Ömie people’s faces for dance performances with natural pigments. The black triangles within the orriseegé frames are mahuva’oje, the hoofprints of a mischievous pig that has wreaked havoc on a garden.