Cypraea Tigris - Human Use

Human Use

Despite the fact that this species does not occur in the Mediterranean Sea, shells of the tiger cowrie and the related panther cowrie, Cypraea pantherina, have been unearthed at Pompeii, the ancient Roman city near Naples, Italy, where these shells may have been used as some form of ornament. It is also conceivable that the shells were part of a natural history collection. There was an interest in natural history at the time, as exemplified by Pliny the Elder who wrote extensively about seashells in his book Natural History and who died investigating the eruption of Vesuvius.

The shells of this species of cowry are still popular among shell collectors, and are also used as a decorative object, even in modern times.

The shell of Cypraea tigris is believed to help to facilitate childbirth: some women in Japan hold a shell of this species during childbirth.

Large cowry shells such as that of this species were used in Europe in the recent past as a frame over which sock heels were stretched for darning, i.e. instead of using a darning egg. The cowry's smooth surface allows the darning needle to be positioned under the cloth more easily than when using a darning mushroom made of wood.

Read more about this topic:  Cypraea Tigris

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