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Cowrie (Cypraea sp.) {!--개오지과(Cypraeidae)--> latin dict size=52   common dict size=512
Image Info Original File Name: sea0044-Round Sea Shell.jpg Resolution: 700x560 File Size: 75326 Bytes Upload Time: 2006:02:01 11:33:31
Author Name (E-mail): Unknown
Subject Cowrie (Cypraea sp.) {!--개오지과(Cypraeidae)-->

Cowrie (Cypraea sp.) {!--개오지과(Cypraeidae)-->; Image ONLY
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Cowrie (Cypraea sp.) {!--개오지과(Cypraeidae)-->

From: taoshen@china.com
Newsgroups: alt.binaries.clip-art,alt.binaries.pictures.animals
Subject: From the Sea jpg format color - sea0044.jpg
Date: 19 Jan 1998 21:24:33 GMT


Cowry or Cowrie (shell)

Cowry shells (also spelled "cowrie"), are marine snails of the genus Cypraea (family Cypraeidae), found chiefly in tropical regions, especially around the Maldives or the East Indies. The shell itself is smooth and more or less egg-shaped, with a long, narrow, slit-like opening (aperture). Sizes range from 5 mm (1/5") for some tropical species to 15 cm (6") for the Tiger Cowry, Cypraea tigris.

Cowries (esp. Cypraea moneta) were used as a currency in Africa (e.g., Nigeria) and elsewhere. They are also worn as jewelry or otherwise used as ornaments or charms, as they are viewed as symbols of womanhood, fertility, birth and wealth. Many find the shiny, porcelain-like shells pleasing to look at.

Cowry shells are sometimes used in a way similar to dice, e.g., in board games like Pachisi, or in divination (cf. If?? and the annual customs of Dahomey). A number of shells (6 or 7 in Pachisi) are thrown, with those landing aperture upwards indicating the actual number rolled.

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