Cowrie - 2024

Stainless Steel, Signed Hamish Mackie
Numbered Edition of 12
Dated 2024

38cm high x 63cm long x 47cm wide
(15″ x 25″ x 18.5″)

Sculptures can be shipped world wide at cost, no VAT payable on exports outside the EU.



£32,000 inc VAT

Hamish has created a contemporary cowrie shell sculpture, cast into marine grade stainless steel and hand-polished to a mirror finish.

Since the earliest times, cowrie shells have been regarded as objects of value to many different cultures. They are variously associated with womanhood and fertility, birth and death, good luck and wealth. The name cowrie comes from the Swahili word ‘kauri’ meaning ceramic or porcelain.

Cowrie shells were once used as currency in parts of Africa and Asia. In North America, they had a ritual significance to some indigenous people, and in India, they were used for divination. In other parts of the world, they have been worn as jewellery and to denote rank, used as gaming pieces and teaching aids for counting, and prized as ornaments and charms.

For Hamish, finding cowrie shells on the beach was part of his childhood in North Cornwall. He was reminded of this as an adult visiting the Hebrides, when he was struck by the large number of cowries he found on the Isle of Coll.

This stainless steel sculpture of an enlarged cowrie, with its labour-intensive mirror finish,  just pops. It is suitable for both interior and exterior display. It would look particularly at home in a marine environment. It has been made as a loose piece nestled in a sand bag, as one might find it on a beach, but it can also be attached to a plinth.

Sculpture in the Making

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