Coco De Mer with Sterling Silver decoration.
During this era, Coco De Mer emerged as part of a Western Wunderkammer or ‘Chamber of Curiosities’, in which each King in Europe tried to own and expand for his own glory. European nobles too in the sixteenth century would often have the shells of these nuts polished and decorated with valuable jewels as collectibles for their private galleries.
In the Maldives, any Coco De Mer nuts that were found in the ocean or on the beaches were supposed to be given to the king. However, Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor was able to purchase one of these nuts for 4,000 gold florins. A Dutch Admiral Wolfert Hermanssen also received a Coco De Mer as a gift for his services, from the Sultan of Bantam in 1602, for fighting the Portuguese. However, it was missing was missing the top part, which was removed by the Sultan in order not to upset the noble admiral’s modesty. In this exhibition, a few similar designed embellished with Sterling Silver will be on display.
Coco De Mer, was believed by many to grow on a mythical tree at the bottom of the sea. It was also believed that Coco De Mer possessed amazing healing powers.