Abalone Shell for Ceremonial Use
Why is an abalone shell used as a container for burning herbs?
Native people were very ingenious. Objects could have several functions and waste was not an option in the old days. Abalone shells, like gourds, were a perfect container for many uses. For a West Coast native, who had access to shells, might use it for ceremony or even jewelry. A woodlands native might form a container out of a hollowed wood. A Southwest native might use a clay bowl.
Some people put an esoteric meaning to the shell, by saying that it represents the element of water and its symbology is important in the ceremony. In contrast, someone else may not use a shell, if it goes against their tradition to do so. It is really up to the individual.
Approximately 4 to 5 inches in diameter.