Six Engraved Pearl Shells, Riji, Jakoli, Western Australia carved pearl shell and natural earth pigments, one with human hair string
PROVENANCE: Private collection
Cf. For related examples collected by Kim Akerman from Lake Gregory, Gordon Downs and Sturt Creek see Kim Akerman, 'From Boab Nuts to Ilma: Kimberley Art and Material Culture' in Judith Ryan and Kim Akerman (eds.), Images of Power: Aboriginal Art of the Kimberley, Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1993, pp.114-115.
Pearl shells from the Kimberley region have played numerous roles in Aboriginal culture. The pendants were worn to influence the onset of rain, as a symbol of strength and good health and in ritual context by initiates.
The provenance of these pearl shells should read:
Acquired by the original vendor over a thirty year period, primarily through direct contact with Western Desert Indigenous Australians
Sotheby's, Important Aboriginal Art, Melbourne, 28 June 1999, part of lot 216
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