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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Indonesia : Gold Mamuli Ear Ornament
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Gold Mamuli Ear Ornament - CK.0062
Origin: Sumba Island, Indonesia
Circa: 18 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 3.625" (9.2cm) high x 3.125" (7.9cm) wide
Collection: Asian
Medium: Gold

Additional Information: SOLD
Location: United States
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The island of Sumba is located in eastern Indonesia. Among the native populations, an indigenous religion known as marapu is still practiced even today. The Sumbanese believed precious metals were of celestial origin and were deposited on earth by shooting stars falling from the sky. As such, gold objects signify divine favor and represent terrestrial wealth. Gold objects are often ritually exchanged during marriages, alliances, and other formal ceremonies. Mamuli, gold ornaments shaped like the Greek letter omega, are among the most important Sumbanese gold objects. Their form harkens back to the days when Sumbanese natives practiced ear elongation and wore mamuli as earrings. Today, however, this practice has fallen out of favor; yet mamuli continue to be worn, now as pendants or attached to garments. The form is said to represent stylized female genitalia and they typically depict smaller figures or scenes from nature. In addition to fine filigree goldwork and granulation, this mamuli features two pairs of copulating monkeys that adorn the flaring base and would have swayed back and forth as the pendant moved. - (CK.0062)


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