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**I Pinipu yan i Pilan (Pendant Necklace)

Published: Saturday, 23 July 2016 Written by Bernard Punzalan

Pinipu yan I Pilan: Historical Significance

Pinipu Pulan

Pinipu are perforated shell disks by ancient Chamorro crafted into bead strung together and used as necklaces. The perforated orange-white bead shells crafted from the Spondylus Oyster shells were used as ornaments and also as an ancient form of currency. Interestingly, many other cultures including some Native American tribes value the Spondylus Oyster shells to make contemporary jewelry. The seashells were vessels of life that pre-date the arrival of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands.

Pulan has two significant meanings in the Chamorro language and culture: 1) it not only refers to the moon; but, 2) it also means to watch over or take care of someone or something. The moon, watches over us nightly. Our ancestors have used its characteristics as a calendar of seasons (13 months) for farming, fishing, and harvesting. The white clam shell is a symbol of the moon (pulan).

I Pinipu yan i Pilan. Therefore, within this particular jewelry (alåhas) that I have crafted, the combination of shells as a pendant signifies prosperity (in terms of flourishing mentally and physically in life) and to strive to live in harmony with our environment: we must take care of and watch over not just ourselves and our people, but also includes the air we breathe, the land and waters and the resources they naturally provide for us so that our children’s children may be able to enjoy the same to sustain future generations to come. These shells and conceptual values passed on from our ancestors become a part of our children’s wealth (guinahan famagu'hon).

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**I Pinipu yan i Pilan (Pendant Necklace)